Japan crude imports from Iran fall 26.1 pct
Japan's crude oil imports from Iran fell 26.1 percent in April from a year earlier to 0.90 million kilolitres (189,137 barrels per day), data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) showed on Thursday, Reuters reported.
Japan's Ministry of Finance issued customs-cleared imports data from Iran on Wednesday, but the oil industry regards the METI data as the benchmark because it tracks the actual import status of oil tankers.
The Ministry of Finance data showed that customs-cleared crude imports from Iran in April tumbled 65.5 percent from a year earlier to 564,962 kl (118,450 bpd).
The double-digit decline was partly because of the timing of shipments clearing customs.
Last month, Ministry of Finance trade data showed customs-cleared crude imports from Iran fell only 6.3 percent in March from a year earlier.
The cuts came even after Japan secured in March a six-month waiver from U.S. financial sanctions relating to Iran, and despite an increase in overall oil demand after last year's Fukushima nuclear disaster.
Still, Iran's oil exports, which were up to 2.2 million barrels per days last year, have not dropped further in May after falling sharply since March, industry sources said this month, as core customers in Europe and Asia continue to buy ahead of the application of European sanctions.
South Korea imported almost 60 percent more crude from Iran in April than in March, pushing purchases to their highest level this year and reversing a decline that began in January after the United States announced its restrictions against Tehran, official data showed on Tuesday.
China, the world's second biggest oil consumer and another major Asian buyer of Iranian crude, increased its oil imports from Iran by 50 percent in April compared to March after both sides resolved a pricing dispute.