March 30, 2018 / 8:16 AM / a year ago

REFILE-Asia's Feb Iran oil imports hit 2-month low

 (Removes extraneous word in headline)
    * Asia Feb imports hit 1.63 mln bpd, lowest since Dec
    * China imports down 27.9 pct yr/yr
    * Japan shipments fall 21.8 pct yr/yr

    By Osamu Tsukimori
    TOKYO, March 30 (Reuters) - Imports of Iranian crude oil by
major buyers in Asia fell by nearly a fifth in February from the
same month a year earlier, hitting a two-month low as all of
them except India curbed purchases, government and ship-tracking
data showed.
    China, India, Japan and South Korea last month imported a
total of 1.63 million barrels per day (bpd) from Iran, the
lowest volume since December, the data showed.
    Iran has been pushing to retain its prized customers in Asia
but concerns that U.S. President Donald Trump will carry out a
threat to exit Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers and
re-impose sanctions has dampened appetite for the country's
crude, amid a persistent global glut.
    China's February imports of Iranian crude tumbled nearly 28
percent from the previous year to a 13-month low of 474,386 bpd.
The country's overall crude imports rose by 1.5 percent last
    India's imports from Iran rose 1.3 percent to 655,500 bpd
last month. Korea's purchases were down almost a third.
    Imports into Japan were down about 22 percent from a year
earlier at 180,144 bpd, marking the 10th straight monthly
decline, data from the country's Ministry of Economy, Trade and
Industry showed on Friday.
    The tables below outline Iran crude imports in bpd by Asia's
biggest buyers for last month and the year to date:
   Country         Feb-18         Feb-17    yr/yr pct
     China        474,386        657,901        -27.9
     India        655,500        647,000          1.3
     Japan        180,144        230,297        -21.8
     Korea        324,571        477,643        -32.1
     Total      1,634,601      2,012,841        -18.8
   Country   Jan-Feb 2018   Jan-Feb 2017    yr/yr pct
     China        618,525        523,839         18.1
     India        571,300        598,400         -4.5
     Japan        192,289        219,275        -12.3
     Korea        286,441        477,847        -40.1
     Total      1,668,555      1,819,361         -8.3
 (Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori
Editing by Aaron Sheldrick)
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