Iranian crude oil exports to Asia fall to two-month low

Asia’s top four buyers of Iranian crude imported a total of 710,699 barrels per day of crude from Iran in January, 49 percent lower than the same month in 2018. (Shutterstock)
Updated 01 March 2019

Iranian crude oil exports to Asia fall to two-month low

  • US sanctions on Iran that took effect last November have severely reduced its exports to Asia even though Washington gave waivers to eight countries
  • Buyers had to overcome shipping and payment issues that delayed the resumption of Iranian oil imports in Japan and South Korea

SINGAPORE: Asia’s crude oil imports from Iran dipped in January to the lowest in two months after top buyers China and India slowed down purchases and as Japan recorded zero imports for a third month, government and trade data showed.
Asia’s top four buyers of Iranian crude — China, India, Japan and South Korea — imported a total 710,699 barrels per day of crude from Iran in January, 49 percent lower than the same month in 2018, the data collated by Thomson Reuters showed.
US sanctions on Iran that took effect last November have severely reduced its exports to Asia even though Washington gave waivers to eight countries allowing them to import lower volumes of Iranian oil for six months.
Buyers had to overcome shipping and payment issues that delayed the resumption of Iranian oil imports in Japan and South Korea.
Iran is the fourth-largest oil producer in OPEC. In January, Japan lifted its first Iranian oil cargo since the sanctions and the shipment is expected to arrive in February. South Korea resumed imports of Iranian oil in January after a four-month hiatus, but its shipments were down 75 percent from the same month last year, data from the Korea National Oil Corp. showed.
The third-largest buyer of Iranian oil in Asia has restricted its purchases to condensate, an ultra- light oil used in producing naphtha for petrochemical production. Imports by Japan and South Korea are set to pick up in the months up to May as buyers maximize the volume of oil they can lift during the waiver, trade sources said.
February imports into Asia are expected to nearly double to 1.38 million bpd, Refinitiv data showed. Iran’s biggest customer China imported 377,038 bpd in January, down from more than 500,000 bpd in December. Still China’s January imports remained above the 360,000 bpd that Beijing can import under the waiver. India also scaled back imports in January to 270,500 bpd, below the 300,000 bpd that Iran’s second largest client is allowed to import.


Lebanon plunged into ‘deliberate depression’: World Bank

Updated 01 December 2020

Lebanon plunged into ‘deliberate depression’: World Bank

  • The fall 2020 edition of the Lebanon Economic Monitor predicted the economy will have contracted by 19.2 percent this year
  • Lebanon’s economy started collapsing last year as a result of years of corrupt practices and mismanagement

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s economy is sinking into a “deliberate depression,” the World Bank said Tuesday in a damning report stressing the authorities’ failure to tackle the crisis.
The fall 2020 edition of the Lebanon Economic Monitor predicted the economy will have contracted by 19.2 percent this year and projected a debt-to-GDP ratio of 194 percent next year.
“A year into Lebanon’s severe economic crisis, deliberate lack of effective policy action by authorities has subjected the economy to an arduous and prolonged depression,” a World Bank statement said.
Lebanon’s economy started collapsing last year as a result of years of corrupt practices and mismanagement.
The crisis was made worse by a nationwide wave of anti-government protests that paralyzed the country late last year and the Covid-19 pandemic this year.
The August 4 Beirut port blast, one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history, brought the country to its knees and further fueled public distrust.
“Lebanon is suffering from a dangerous depletion of resources, including human capital, with brain drain becoming an increasingly desperate option,” the World Bank warned.
In 2020, Lebanon defaulted on its debt, banks imposed capital controls and inflation has reached triple-digit rates, dragging the country into its worst ever economic crisis.
Instead of taking emergency measures to rescue the economy, Lebanon’s political elite has continued to dither and bicker.
The previous government headed by Hassan Diab failed to adopt ambitious policies to tackle the crisis. It resigned under pressure over the blast nearly four months ago and a new cabinet has yet to be formed.
“Lack of political consensus on national priorities severely impedes Lebanon’s ability to implement long-term and visionary development policies,” said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank regional director.
He called for the quick formation of a new government capable of implementing short-term emergency measures and addressing long-term structural challenges.
“This is imperative to restore the confidence of the people of Lebanon,” he said.
An annual index compiled by Gallup that tracks people’s experience of stress and sadness said “no other country in the world saw negative experiences skyrocket across the board as much as Lebanon.”
The Negative Experience Index’s data was collected before the Beirut port blast, Lebanon’s worst ever peace time disaster.