July 31, 2018 / 9:57 AM / 2 years ago

Asia's June Iran oil imports hit seven-month low

    * Asia June imports total 1.45 mln bpd -govt, ship data
    * India's imports surge 20 pct from year ago
    * South Korean imports plunge 41 pct from June 2017

    By Osamu Tsukimori
    TOKYO, July 31 (Reuters) - Imports of Iranian crude oil by
major buyers in Asia fell to a seven-month low in June, as South
Korea lowered imports significantly ahead of possible new
sanctions on the Middle Eastern nation, government and
ship-tracking data showed.
    China, India, Japan and South Korea last month imported 1.45
million barrels per day (bpd) from Iran, according to the data.
That was down 0.5 percent from a year ago and the lowest since
November last year. 
    Purchases of crude from Iran by the four countries may fall
significantly by the end of the year after President Donald
Trump pulled the United States out of a landmark agreement on
curbing Tehran's disputed nuclear programme. 
    The United States is reimposing sanctions on Iran and
demanding other countries cut their trade ties with the Middle
Eastern country. 
    Iran and other signatories have been working to find a way
to salvage the nuclear agreement, even as the United States has
begun reimposing some sanctions on Iran. 
    The first set of sanctions will take effect on Aug. 6, and
the rest, notably in the petroleum sector, after a 180-day
"wind-down period" ending on Nov. 4. 
    Top buyer China's imports of Iranian crude in June rose
about 2 percent from a year ago to 525,000 bpd, according to
Reuters oil flow data on Eikon. China has halted release of
country breakdown for its crude imports since earlier this year.
    India's imports from Iran jumped nearly 20 percent from last
year to around 593,000 bpd. Indian refiners, though, ordered
about 12 percent less Iranian oil in June than in May, when the
U.S. said it would reintroduce sanctions on Iran.
    South Korean purchases slumped 41 percent from June last
year to 183,000 bpd. South Korea will not lift any Iranian crude
or condensate in July, halting all shipments for the first time
in six years amid U.S. pressure to cut all imports, three
sources familiar with the matter have said.
    Iran crude imports into Japan rose 10 percent in June to
around 148,000 bpd from a year earlier, Japanese trade ministry
data showed on Tuesday. 
    The tables below outline Iran crude imports in bpd by Asia's
biggest buyers for last month and the year to date: 
 Nation        Jun-18      Jun-17   yr/yr pct
 China       524,834     516,119          1.7
 India       592,800     495,900         19.5
 Japan       148,312     134,831         10.0
 Korea       183,067     310,167        -41.0
 Total     1,449,013   1,457,017         -0.5
 Nation   Jan-June 2018    Jan-June 2017   yr/yr pct
 China         631,104          586,576          7.6
 India         585,000          539,500          8.4
 Japan         162,222          166,652         -2.7
 Korea         276,282          421,972        -34.5
 Total       1,654,608        1,714,700         -3.5

 (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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