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Iran’s Oil Exports To Asia Slump To Five-Year Low In November

Iran’s oil sales to the four major crude buyers in Asia plunged in November to the lowest level in more than five years, as Indian imports slumped and South Korea and Japan had halted purchases before the U.S. sanctions on the Iranian oil industry returned.

The combined oil imports from Iran of China, India, South Korea, and Japan dropped by 12.7 percent annually in November to 664,800 bpd, Reuters reports, citing data from governments and ship-tracking sources.

The November Iranian imports of the four major Asian buyers are also down from October’s 762,000-bpd average.

China’s oil imports from Iran edged up in November compared to October to average nearly 390,000 bpd last month, up from a low of 247,000 bpd in October—the lowest in more than five years.

Indian oil imports from Iran, however, plunged by 40 percent in November compared to October, as the second-largest buyer of Iranian oil had scaled back nominations for November hoping to win a U.S. waiver to continue importing oil from Tehran.

South Korea and Japan had completely stopped imports from Iran even before the U.S. sanctions snapped back. For a third consecutive month in November, South Korea didn’t import any Iranian crude oil, and neither did Japan.

Yet, all four major Asian buyers of Iranian oil were given U.S. waivers to continue importing oil from Iran until early May. Therefore, Asia’s imports from Iran are expected to tick up in the next few months, probably until March, when those four countries will want to have completed all loadings and transactions before the current waivers expire.

Japan and South Korea will resume Iranian oil imports in January, while Chinese oil imports from Iran are on course to rebound in December from the lows of October and November as China’s state-held companies have already started to use the U.S. waivers to continue importing Iranian oil at reduced volumes.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Brian Bresee on December 29 2018 said:
    It appears that the hopes by some that the US sanctions on Iranian oil will have no effect will be dashed, which will boost the price of oil for all other oil producers.

    In my effort to understand why Iran would sacrifice so much to obtain a nuclear weapon, I understood it was in part to maintain their dignity and an equal footing, which is now a political wedge issue in Iran. It would also give them a greater ability to be aggressive with their neighbors, something they have shown a willingness to do with a Sunni/Shiite divide, no different than what happened in Christianity with a Catholic/Protestant divide.

    The irony is it is the US who wants to deny Iran a nuclear weapon and thus that greater ability to be aggressive, yet the US has been foolishly very aggressive with Iran's neighbors.

    But in the bigger picture, a nuclear Iran will end with a nuclear Saudi Arabia too, with others soon to follow in a race to maintain dignity and equal footing.

    All of humanity has a long ways to go in the pursuit of true dignity, because the ability to kill others and then to use that ability offers no dignity at all.

    And so it is the politics of oil will continue to shape the world.
  • AcK on December 29 2018 said:
    Would be interesting to look at iran exports in totality. Interesting that in all the discussion around shale, russia and opec, the impact of iran sanctions have been pushed to the background. Maybe only a 13pc dip for top buyers (which have got waivers so #s should tick up in coming months). But to what extent overall iran supply is curtailed remains a key question, imho.

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