China has witnessed a significant increase in its imports of Russian crude oil, reaching an all-time high last month. According to customs data, Russia’s crude oil exports to China in June amounted to 10.5 million tons, marking a more than 40% increase compared to the same period last year. In terms of monetary value, these imports were worth $5.22 billion. The supply of Russian crude oil to China in May stood at 9.7 million tons, valued at $5.14 billion.
Over the first half of this year, China imported a total of over 50 million tons of oil from Russia. This indicates that Russia has surpassed Saudi Arabia as China’s top oil supplier in 2022, largely due to the steep discounts offered by the sanctioned country. Saudi Arabia remains as China’s second-largest provider, having delivered over 46 million tons in the same period. Iraq follows in the third spot with more than 29 million tons.
Last year, Russia faced a Western embargo and a price cap on its oil. In response, Moscow redirected its oil flows towards the East, resulting in a significant increase in purchases by countries such as India and China. In fact, both India and China have significantly increased their purchases of Russian oil. Furthermore, in April, Pakistan received its first cargo of Russian oil under a deal reached earlier this year.
China’s dependence on Russian crude oil is expected to continue growing, as the country seeks to diversify its energy sources. The strategic cooperation between China and Russia in the energy sector has not only economical benefits but also political implications, as it strengthens the bond between the two countries.
The increase in Russia’s crude oil exports to China indicates that the economic relationship between these two nations is strengthening. This surge in imports is driven by the attractive pricing and reliable supply offered by Russia, amid geopolitical tensions and uncertainties in other oil-producing regions.
In conclusion, China’s imports of Russian crude oil have reached record levels, solidifying Russia’s position as Beijing’s top oil supplier. The significant increase in imports is primarily due to the attractive pricing and reliable supply offered by Russia. This shift in oil flows towards the East highlights the growing economic cooperation between China and Russia, which holds both economic and political significance.