TEHRAN – Imports of Iranian crude by its four main buyers in Asia jumped 30.5 percent in January-May 2017, government and ship-tracking data showed.
Iran’s top four Asian buyers – China, India, South Korea and Japan – imported 1.765 million barrels per day (bpd) in the 5-month period, up from 1.353 million bpd in the same period in 2016, Reuters reported.
China was the biggest buyer, importing 600,597 bpd. India, South Korea and Japan ranked next, importing 548,200 bpd, 444,185 bpd, and 172,974 bpd, respectively.
However, imports fell 2 percent in May from a year ago, marking the first year-on-year decline since January 2016, when Western sanctions were lifted leading to a spike in Tehran’s exports.
The top four Asian buyers imported 1.60 million bpd in May.
Iran was exempted from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreement to reduce output by 1.2 million bpd that began this year, as Tehran needs to regain the market share it lost under Western sanctions over its nuclear program.
Overall Iranian oil output was hovering at more than 3.9 million bpd and is expected to reach 4 million bpd by March 2018, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said this month.
Iran’s crude oil exports in July are set to fall 7 percent from this month’s three-month high, mainly due to a decline in exports to Europe.