BEIJING (Reuters) - Russia held its spot as China’s top crude oil supplier for a fifth month in a row in July, with shipments up 54 percent over a year earlier, data showed on Wednesday.
Russian shipments last month came in at 4.97 million tonnes, or about 1.17 million barrels per day (bpd), the General Administration of Customs said in a more a detailed breakdown of commodity trade data released on Aug. 8.
For the first seven months of the year, Russia’s volumes to China grew nearly 16 percent year-on-year to 34.22 million tonnes, or 1.18 million bpd.
China bought a total of 34.74 million tonnes of crude oil in July, or about 8.18 million bpd, down from June but still up about 12 percent from a year earlier.
Imports in the first seven months grew 13.6 percent year-on-year to 247 million tonnes, or 8.51 million bpd,
Saudi Arabia was China’s second biggest supplier in July, with volumes at 3.99 million tonnes, or about 940,000 bpd, down 0.8 percent from a year earlier.
Supplies from the Kingdom rose only 0.4 percent in January-July from the same period a year earlier to 30.59 million tonnes, or 1.05 million bpd.
Shipments from Angola, China’s third-largest supplier in July, fell 17.1 percent from a year earlier to 3.91 million tonnes, or 921,520 bpd.
Year-to-date, Angola maintained its second-ranking for the third month in a row, with January-July supplies up 15 percent.
Chinese refineries have taken more Brent-related, sweet West African crudes in recent months, scaling back on sour Middle East grades because of the narrowing price differentials that make West African supplies more attractive.
Russian crude exports to China grew this year after independent refiners expanded their diet to include the Urals grade exported from the Mediterranean. China also snapped up almost all of the ESPO blend exports from the Pacific port of Kozmino.
Chinese imports of U.S. crude, which started last year, were about 174,000 bpd in July and amounted to 3.8 million tonnes for the first seven months of the year, or 1.5 percent of the country’s total imports.
Chinese buyers have over the period also ramped up imports of Brazilian oil, with first-seven months shipments up 41 percent on year.
Imports from Iran inched up 0.45 percent on year in July at 568,720 bpd while supplies from Iraq shot up 16 percent at 857,020 bpd, customs data showed. [O/CHINA1]
(1 tonne = 7.3 barrels)
Reporting by Chen Aizhu and Meng Meng; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Kim Coghill