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Asian imports of Iranian oil fall from 6-mth high

Imports of Iranian crude by major buyers in Asia fell in October from a sixth-month high hit the previous month, dropping for the first time since June, with South Korea the only big Asian importer to increase loadings.

China, India, Japan and South Korea imported almost 1.75 million barrels per day (bpd) last month, up 11.4 percent from a year ago, government and ship-tracking data showed.

Asian purchases remain below highs touched earlier this year and last year as Tehran ramped up exports after the lifting of sanctions that had targeted its disputed nuclear programme.

Arrivals for November, though, are likely to show a further drop as oil loadings bound for Asia fell below 1.5 million bpd in October, a person with knowledge of Iran’s tanker schedules told Reuters late last month.

Tehran is pushing to retain its prized Asian customers, hoping price reductions will boost the appeal of its crude compared with other Middle Eastern grades even as the potential threat of a renewal of U.S. sanctions looms.

India’s imports from Iran fell 38.9 percent to about 467,000 bpd last month from a year earlier.

China, the biggest buyer, purchased 11.5 percent less oil from Iran year-on-year, taking around 685,000 bpd.

South Korea’s imports surged nearly 90 percent in October from the previous year to almost 427,000 bpd.

Imports to Japan, which announced official figures on Thursday, were down by nearly 20 percent from a year earlier at 165,000 bpd.

The tables below outline Iran crude imports in bpd by Asia’s biggest buyers for last month and year-to-date.

 Country         Oct-17        Oct-16   yr/yr pct
 China          685,150       773,860       -11.5
 India          467,600       765,500       -38.9
 Japan          165,535       201,847       -18.0
 Korea          426,710       227,452        87.6
 Total        1,744,995     1,968,659       -11.4
 Country   Jan-Oct 2017  Jan-Oct 2016   yr/yr pct
 China          634,749       618,866         2.6
 India          486,400       454,000         7.1
 Japan          165,405       224,166       -26.2
 Korea          423,651       278,882        51.9
 Total        1,710,205     1,575,914         8.5

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick and Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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