Russia keeps China oil supplier crown in August; U.S., Brazil shipments soar

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Russia was the biggest oil supplier to China in August for a second consecutive month, customs data showed on Friday, with Saudi Arabia trailing after its volumes dropped by one-third.

Russia supplied 5.8 million tonnes of crude oil in August, data from China’s General Administration of Customs showed. That is equal to 1.37 million barrels per day (bpd), down 3.7% from a year earlier and compared to July’s 1.74 million bpd.

The year-on-year percentage changes are based on calculations by Reuters since Customs did not provide the figures.

Shipments from Saudi Arabia last month were 5.26 million tonnes, the data showed, or 1.24 million bpd, down 32.5% from a year earlier.

For the first eight months of 2020, Russia remained the top seller at 57.1 million tonnes, 15.6% higher than the same period a year ago. Saudi Arabian imports were 55.8 million tonnes, up 6.1% from a year earlier.

Iraq, which was the second-biggest supplier in July, sent 4.6 million tonnes in August, 20% off its July level, as the country started to cut back production to compensate for its earlier failures to meet supply cuts agreed to by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allied producers.

Iraq’s imports last month were 2% higher than a year earlier and are 33.9% higher in 2020 so far.

China’s imports from the Americas soared last month, with shipments from Brazil up 75% on-year at 4.15 million tonnes, while those from the United States more than doubled to 2.23 million tonnes.

Total Chinese crude oil purchases eased in August off the red-hot levels of July and June, and are expected to ebb further in the coming months as inventories climb and processing margins narrow.

Reporting by Chen Aizhu; Editing by Christian Schmollinger