Angola was China’s fifth top crude oil supplier in April, customs data showed, with imports rising 23.8% from the same month a year earlier. In the first four months of 2020, Chinese imports from Angola are still negative, despite the recovery.
According to data from the General Administration of Customs released on Tuesday, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia as China´s main oil supplier. Russian shipments reached 7.2 million tonnes last month, equivalent to 1.75 million barrels per day (bpd).
Supplies from Saudi Arabia fell to 1.26 million bpd, down from 1.53 million bpd in April 2019 and 1.7 million bpd in
China’s total crude oil imports in April came in at 9.84 million bpd, up from 9.68 million bpd in March, but well below 10.64 million bpd in April last year, according to data released earlier this month. According to international agencies, refiners in China are buying cheap raw materials amid a price war between the Russia and Saudi Arabia.
Angola was the fifth largest supplier, after Iraq and Oman, supplying 3,4 million tons in April, a 23.8% increase. Supplies between January and April are still 20% down the same period of 2019.
Chinese imports during the first four months of the year were up 1.7% on a year earlier as Chinese oil refineries take
advantage of low oil prices. Analysts have estimated that average utilisation rates at independent refineries rose to nearly 70% in late April – their level before the virus outbreak – but that state-backed refiners will not climb back to their normal level until May.
Customs has not reported imports from Venezuela since last October, as China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), Caracas’s top oil client, avoided lifting any oil from there to avoid violating secondary U.S. sanctions. Some of the Venezuelan shipments, however, have been diverted to Malaysia for blending before exports to China, resulting in surge of Malaysian shipments that more than tripled in the first four months.