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Asian imports of Iran oil plunge 18pc

TOKYO, January 29, 2016

Asian imports of Iranian oil fell 18 per cent in December from a year earlier, as Iran's biggest crude buyers refrained from increasing their purchases before sanctions were lifted as part of an agreement on Tehran's disputed nuclear programme.
 
But Iran's rehabilitation in the international commercial system is proceeding fast, with oil exports surging this month and next, according to data obtained by Reuters. 
 
Billions of dollars of deals have also been agreed with companies from Italy, France and other European countries since sanctions were lifted at mid-month. 
 
Imports by Iran's four biggest buyers - China, India, Japan and South Korea - came to just below one million  barrels per day (bpd) in December, down from 1.2 million bpd from a year ago, government and tanker-tracking data show.
 
The 2015 imports were slightly above one million bpd, down eight per cent from the year before.
 
The arrival figures show that buying remained restrained even after an agreement was reached in July to curb Iran's nuclear programme. 
 
The Islamic republic has consistently said it programme was for power generation and not about building an atomic bomb, as the United States and its allies have claimed.
 
Now, with sanctions lifted after Tehran took the required steps set out in the July agreement, Iran is ramping up exports as it seeks to regain market share, data from a source with knowledge of Iranian loading schedule shows. 
 
The sanctions were introduced to keep Iran's exports at around one million bpd - down from an average 2.5 million bpd in 2011 - and have been credited with forcing Tehran to the negotiating table over its disputed nuclear activities.
 
President Hassan Rouhani is eager to boost the country's battered economy after winning an election on a promise to restore ties with the West and spark an economic revival based on sanctions relief.  
 
Japan's purchases of Iranian crude rose more than 30 per cent in December from a year earlier to about 175,000 bpd, trade ministry data showed on Friday. - Reuters



Tags: Oil | Iran | Asian | import | plunge |

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