Oil report

German Jan-June oil imports crept up 0.4% yr/yr despite coronavirus

FRANKFURT, Sept 2 (Reuters) - German crude oil imports in the first six months of 2020 were 0.4% above those a year earlier although they fell by 1.6% in June alone as the economy slowed due to the coronavirus crisis, official data showed on Wednesday.

Overall volumes reaching Germany in January-June totalled 41.9 million tonnes, up from 41.7 million in comparable 2019, monthly statistics issued by the BAFA foreign trade office showed.

Imports in January through March, before the outbreak of the virus, had still been above year-ago levels but when the pandemic and related lockdowns hit industrial activity, they dropped sharply by 11.3% in April, dragging down the total.

They recovered somewhat in May but dropped again in June in the country’s biggest economic slump since World War Two. The German economy contracted by a record 9.7% in the second quarter.

Russia accounted for 35.9% of Germany’s oil receipts in the six months, followed by 22.6% from the British and Norwegian North Sea, while imports from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) contributed 17.1%.

Other sources, including the United States, provided the rest.

Germany spent 11.9 billion euros ($14.07 billion) on crude imports in the first half of the year, 34.6% less than a year earlier when market prices were much higher, BAFA data also showed.

Average prices paid on the border in the six-months period under review fell 35.0% to 283.85 euros per tonne.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has since March unleashed an array of rescue and stimulus measures, financed with record borrowing of 217.8 billion euros, to help companies and consumers get out of the crisis.

The government on Tuesday revised upwards its 2020 economic forecast to a decline of 5.8% from a previous estimate of -6.3%. ($1 = 0.8457 euros) (Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)