Register with us today

and in less than 60 seconds continue your access to:Latest news headlinesAnalytical topics and featuresCommodities videos, podcast & blogsSample market prices & dataSpecial reportsSubscriber notes & daily commodity email alerts

Already have an account?

Log in to register

Forgot Password

Please Note: Platts Market Center subscribers can only reset passwords via the Platts Market Center

Enter your Email ID below and we will send you an email with your password.


  • Email Address* Please enter email address.

If you are a premium subscriber, we are unable to send you your password for security reasons. Please contact the Client Services team.

If you are a Platts Market Center subscriber, to reset your password go to the Platts Market Center to reset your password.

In this list
Coal | LNG | Natural Gas | Oil | Petrochemicals

CHINA DATA: May crude imports from Saudi Arabia soar 95% on year to record high

Commodities | Coal | LNG | Natural Gas | Natural Gas (North American) | Oil | Crude Oil | Steel | Shipping | Coronavirus

Market Movers Americas, Aug 3-7: Brent-WTI spread at widest since May

LNG | Natural Gas | NGL

Platts LNG Alert

Capital Markets | Commodities | Oil | Crude Oil | Refined Products | Fuel Oil | Gasoline | Jet Fuel | Naphtha | Marine Fuels | Equities | Financial Services | Banking | Non-banks | Private Markets

North American Crude Oil Summit, 3rd annual

Metals

Gold spot price breaks above $2,000/oz: analysts

CHINA DATA: May crude imports from Saudi Arabia soar 95% on year to record high

Highlights

Saudi crude inflow likely to stay high until Q3

Independent refineries key buyers of other Middle Eastern crudes

US crude inflow is expected to hit high in Jul

Singapore — China's crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia soared 94.9% year on year to 9.17 million mt, or 2.17 million b/d, in May, a new record high for a single producer's supplies in a month, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed on June 26.

Not registered?

Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.

Register Now

The last record high was 2.06 million b/d or 8.41 million mt, which was also set by Saudi Arabia in October 2019, GAC data showed.

The Saudi crude flood was within expectation as the listed Saudi Aramco slashed the prices of its crude exports for April, including the biggest cut ever for Arab Light crude by $6/b for Asia in early March, which attracted heavy buying from China in late March.

These barrels were scheduled to be delivered in May.

The flow from the OPEC kingpin will remain high in June as it further cut its OSP for May-loading cargoes.

But rising international benchmark prices, combined with the sharp hike in Saudi Aramco's official selling prices for June and July loading cargoes, could put the brakes on China's buying in the third quarter, industry officials and market sources say.

Saudi Aramco on June 7 set the OSP differential for its Arab Light crude headed to Asia at plus 20 cents/b against the average of the Dubai and Oman benchmarks over July. That is up $6.10/b from the June price and far above the $2-$5/b increase traders had expected, according to an S&P Global Platts survey.

OPEC'S SHARE RISES TO 53%

Not only Saudi Arabia, but also other producers from the Middle East significantly raised their shipments to the world's top crude importer in May.

As a result, crude imports from the oil-rich region surged 57% on the year to 6.06 million b/d, accounting for 53% of the crude deliveries to China in May, GAC data showed.

By comparison, Middle East took only a 41% of share in May 2019 and 46% in April.

But in contrast to Saudi Arabian crude, the main buyers of which are state-owned oil giants, independent refineries were the main contributors to the surge in crude imports from other Middle Eastern producers.

Independent refineries imported 2.39 million mt of Iraqi crude in May, more than tripling by growing 1.69 million mt from a year earlier, S&P Global Platts data showed.

Therefore, crude imports from Iraq, the third largest crude supplier to China, jumped 54.7% or 2.46 million mt year on year to 6.96 million mt in May, GAC data show.

The same applies to Upper Zakum, Murban from UAE, as the sector lifted imports from the producer by 275.8% year on year to 1.49 million mt, Platts data show.

This pushed UAE to become the fourth largest supplier to China with imports more than quadrupling to 3.25 million mt in May, taking it from sixth place in April and 15th in May 2019, according to GAC.

IMPORTS FROM US RESUME

US crudes flowed into China in May again after a five-month suspension. However, the import volume fell 30.1% year on year to 549,839 mt or 130,010 b/d.

The first US cargo in May was Alaska North Slope, taken by independent refineries Shenchi Petrochemical and Luqing Petrochemical, according to Platts data.

The sector totally got 345,000 mt of deliveries from US in May, including Mars and WTI Midland in addition to ANS, becoming the main receiver of the US barrels in the month.

"May is just a start, arrivals will gradually go up in June, and more will come in July," a Shandong-based independent refiner said.

In March, Chinese independent refiners took at least two cargoes of US sour crude grade Mars at a discount of $8-$9/b to ICE Brent for July delivery into China, refining sources said.

State-owned companies Unipec and PetroChina became more active in taking US crude in April when crude prices slumped due to weak demand and oversupply due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trade flow tracker Kpler showed that US crude arrivals to China would hit a record high of 865,000 b/d in July, from 118,000 b/d in June.

China has committed to buy $18.5 billion more of US energy products in 2020 than it bought in 2017, and $33.9 billion more in 2021 than in 2017, with expectations of similar levels through 2025.

The deal covers crude oil, LNG, refined products and coal, of which crude oil and LNG are expected to comprise the bulk of the purchases as they are the most traded and have the largest market in China.

China's top crude suppliers

(Unit: '000 mt)

May-20
May-19
% change
Apr-20
% change
Saudi Arabia
9,165
4,702
94.9%
5,161
77.6%
Russia
7,708
6,356
21.3%
7,204
7.0%
Iraq
6,963
4,502
54.7%
3,992
74.4%
U.A.E.
3,250
757
329.4%
3,079
5.5%
Oman
3,244
3,304
-1.8%
3,834
-15.4%
Angola
2,926
3,725
-21.4%
3,404
-14.0%
Brazil
2,333
3,386
-31.1%
2,243
4.0%
Kuwait
2,215
0
NA
1,571
41.0%
Azerbaijan
1,227
810
51.4%
0
NA
Malaysia
1,007
1,379
-27.0%
1,576
-36.1%
Total*
47,969
40,130
19.5%
40,429
18.7%
Total* '000 b/d
11,342
9,489
19.5%
9,878
14.8%

Jan-May 20
Market share
Jan-May 19
Market share
Vol Change
Saudi Arabia
36,277
16.8%
30,038
14.7%
20.8%
Russia
35,984
16.7%
30,539
14.9%
17.8%
Iraq
27,178
12.6%
19,211
9.4%
41.5%
Angola
16,633
7.7%
20,874
10.2%
-20.3%
Brazil
15,479
7.2%
17,632
8.6%
-12.2%
Oman
15,335
7.1%
13,640
6.7%
12.4%
U.A.E.
11,215
5.2%
5,932
2.9%
89.1%
Kuwait
10,290
4.8%
9,267
4.5%
11.0%
Malaysia
7,210
3.3%
3,274
1.6%
120.2%
Colombia
5,499
2.6%
4,993
2.4%
10.1%
Total*
215,576
100.0%
205,013
100.0%
5.2%
Total* '000 b/d
10,396
100.0%
9,952
100.0%
4.5%

Note: * include other suppliers

Source: GAC