According to the latest Oil Market Report by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Russia maintained its position as the largest exporter of oil to India and China in June. The data revealed that Russia accounted for nearly 20% of China’s total oil imports during the reporting period, making it the largest crude supplier to the Asian country for the past six consecutive months. Saudi Arabia followed as the second-largest supplier, contributing 15% of China’s total imports, while Malaysia supplied approximately 11%.
Customs data indicated that China imported a record-high amount of Russian crude in June, with shipments reaching 10.5 million tons, a 40% increase compared to the same month last year. Overall, China’s oil imports grew by 5% compared to May, totaling 12.7 million barrels per day (bpd).
Similarly, Russia accounted for 45% of India’s crude imports in June, maintaining its position as the country’s top supplier for the past year. Iraq accounted for about 17% of India’s supplies, while Saudi Arabia accounted for 16%. However, India’s total oil imports in June experienced a 3% decrease compared to May, reaching 4.7 million bpd.
The significant increase in Russian oil exports to both India and China can be attributed to the hefty discounts offered by Moscow since last year. Russia introduced these discounts as a strategy to expand its presence in new markets after facing sanctions from traditional Western buyers due to the Ukraine conflict. Following the G7 embargo and price cap on Russian oil, Moscow actively redirected its oil flows to Asian markets.
According to data previously released by the Indian Ministry of Industry and Trade, Russia’s oil exports to India surged to 37 million tons in the first five months of this year, surpassing the total exports for the entire year of 2022.
The continued reliance of India and China on Russian oil showcases the success of Moscow’s efforts to diversify its customer base and establish strong ties with these major Asian economies. The availability of discounted Russian oil has undoubtedly played a significant role in attracting these countries as key buyers.
Russia’s dominance as the leading oil exporter to India and China not only highlights its pivotal role in global oil markets but also reflects the shifting dynamics of energy trade, with Russia increasingly focusing on Asian markets to offset restrictions imposed by Western countries.
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