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.


HSBC to axe 82 branches in UK, cut services in others

Updated 19 January 2021

HSBC to axe 82 branches in UK, cut services in others

  • The lender said it would be left with 511 branches in the UK following the closures

LONDON: HSBC said on Tuesday it planned to axe 82 branches in Britain this year after a drop in footfall across its retail network and a surge in digital banking.
The lender said it would be left with 511 branches in the UK following the closures, with many of the remaining branches set to be refurbished with some providing fewer services.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dented bank finances, putting pressure on lenders to cut costs, while more customers have opted to bank online as people have been encouraged to stay at home to combat the spread of the virus.
HSBC said it had begun trialing different branch formats and decided to provide fewer full-service branches focused in large cities and towns, with others providing cash or self-service technology.
The bank said ‘pop-up’ mobile branches would also be rolled out later this year.
“The direction of travel is really quite clear and this is borne out by the reduction in branch usage and increase in digital interaction that we are seeing first-hand,” said Jackie Uhi, HSBC UK’s head of network.