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India’s Oil Imports Jump To Four-Month High In August

India’s oil imports surged by 23 percent month-on-month to reach a four-month high of 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd) in August, amid refiners preparing to ramp up crude throughputs for the festival season that starts next month, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing tanker data from trade sources.

India’s oil imports also rose by 6.2 percent in August 2021 compared to the same month of 2020.

Last month’s oil imports in India reached a four-month high after several months of lower shipments due to the resurgence of COVID cases in the spring, weakened fuel demand that came with the coronavirus spread in April and May, and refinery maintenance in July.

Indian refiners imported in June 2021 the lowest volume of crude oil in nine months, as purchases slowed down in April and May when India imposed regional mobility restrictions to curb a resurgence in COVID cases. India was estimated to have imported around 3.9 million bpd of crude oil in June, which was down by 7 percent compared to the imports in May.

In July 2021, Indian refiners imported the lowest volumes of oil in a year due to refinery maintenance. Crude oil imports in July were down by 12.5 percent from the already low import volume in June, and stood at just 3.4 million bpd, industry sources with tanker data told Reuters.

Indian oil imports rebounded in August as refiners bought more crude in anticipation of raising their fuel production just in time for the festival season in October and November.  

Last month, India imported more oil from the United States and Latin America, with cargoes booked in May-June thanks to arbitrage, according to trade sources’ data obtained by Reuters.

Indian imports of U.S. oil jumped to a five-month high while shipments from Latin America increased to the highest since December 2020. The incremental purchases of crude from the Americas left the Middle East with a lower share of India’s oil imports last month—at 61.8 percent, it was down from 64.7 percent in July.

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By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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