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China’s June gasoline exports to N.Korea fall y/y, but up from May

China’s gasoline exports to North Korea fell in June from a year ago, but still jumped nearly 60 percent from the previous month, official data showed on Monday.

Gasoline accounts for the bulk of China’s fuel exports to the isolated state. The refined oil shipments to North Korea are being closely watched amid pressure on Pyongyang to rein in its nuclear and missile programmes.

Gasoline exports, which are often volatile, fell 30 percent from June last year to 8,262 tonnes, but rose 58 percent from May, according to the General Administration of Customs.

China’s total fuel exports in June were worth $5.5 million, up from $3.4 million in May, but down from $8.6 million in April, according to Reuters calculations based on customs data.

The rise in gasoline exports in June over the previous month came after sources told Reuters that state-owned China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) had suspended fuel sales to North Korea.

In the weeks since the report on June 28, gasoline and diesel prices have surged in North Korea.

“Despite a rise in fuel exports to North Korea, the absolute amount is still very small,” said Li Yan, oil analyst at Longzhong Information Group.

“CNPC’s cut in oil (product) sales was probably to warn North Korea for political reasons. For future fuel trade, it may depend on the relationship between the two countries,” he said.

Shipments of diesel to North Korea rose to 367 tonnes in June from just 10 tonnes in May, the data showed.

China’s imports of iron ore from North Korea in June fell 9.9 percent to 224,059 tonnes from the same period last year, and were down 4 percent from May.

China bought no coal for a fourth month after Beijing halted coal shipments in February.

The table below gives a breakdown of imports and exports of major commodities between the two countries:

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Josephine Mason; Editing by Richard Pullin and Tom Hogue)

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