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India’s Crude Imports on the Rise, Imports from Iran under Pressure

Oil

India’s crude oil imports rose 480K b/d m-o-m to 4.82M b/d in April, up 451K b/d from the average in 2017, according to data published by Reuters. Imports from its third largest supplier Iran, dropped 112K b/d m-o-m to 593K b/d, still marginally up on last year’s average. The monthly drop was linked to Indian buyers attempting to secure alternatives to Iranian oil ahead of the re-imposition of US sanctions on Tehran. The country’s Oil Ministry had previously warned domestic refiners that imports of Iranian oil could be completely eliminated from November.

India’s imports from top supplier Iraq stood at 910K b/d, down 97K b/d m-o-m but still about 27K b/d higher from last year’s monthly average, while imports from its second largest supplier Saudi Arabia rose 230K b/d y-o-y to a 5-month high 893K b/d. In total, India’s top three suppliers Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran accounted for nearly 50% of total imports.

Combined imports from the Caribbean and Latin America rose to a 5-month high 637K b/d, as a 33K b/d drop in shipments from Venezuela to 309K b/d was offset by a 120K b/d monthly rise in shipments from Mexico to 328K b/d.

Finally, India imported 97K b/d of US crude in June compared to zero imports in May and a monthly average of just 65K b/d in 2017.

By mid afternoon in London, ICE Brent was trading at $77.05/bbl, down $1.81/bbl from the end of Tuesday’s trading day. The ICE Brent/WTI spread stood at $3.99/bbl, up $0.08/bbl w-o-w but still $4.65/bbl lower from last month’s average.