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.


Samsung launches new flagship Galaxy S smartphone early, targets remote workers, gamers

This photo provided by Samsung shows the Galaxy S21. (Samsung via AP)
Updated 15 January 2021

Samsung launches new flagship Galaxy S smartphone early, targets remote workers, gamers

  • Samsung is set to release the S21 series at a cheaper rates
  • The series will be widely available starting Jan. 29 through Samsung.com, carriers and retailers online

SEOUL, South Korea: Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. on Thursday unveiled the first Galaxy S smartphone with a stylus for on-screen work called the S Pen, more than a month ahead of its usual annual release schedule for models of its flagship compact phone.
Analysts have said offering a stylus within the Galaxy S21 series might signal the South Korean tech giant will merge the S line with its other premium smartphone range, the Note, already equipped with a note-taking stylus. That could free up resources for Samsung to push its separate range high-end foldable phones as key mass products rather than niche devices.
Samsung is also looking to grab market share after China’s Huawei Technologies was hit with US sanctions that restricted its supply and hurt sales, analysts have said.
An early Galaxy S21 launch is a likely tactic to capitalize on Huawei’s woes, said Counterpoint Research analyst Sujeong Lim. New iterations of the Note typically come in the second half of the year.
Lim said Samsung faces intense competition in the high-end category from Chinese vendors amid growing demand for devices that can be used for remote work amid the coronavirus pandemic, as well as play like videogaming.
In the United States, the Galaxy S21 price range starts at $799.99, the S21 Plus version at $999.99, and the S21 Ultra at $1,199.99.
The series will be widely available starting Jan. 29 through Samsung.com, carriers and retailers online, Samsung said.
With the most advanced processing chip in any Galaxy device, the S21 is 5G compatible and designed for shooting and viewing video and images as well as on-screen work. The top end of the range, the Ultra — the only version compliant with the S Pen stylus, which has to be bought separately — sports a four-lens rear camera that allows different angles and zoom shots.
Samsung plans to offer the stylus with other devices, said TM Roh, head of Samsung’s mobile communications business.
The standard S21’s screen size is 6.2 inches, with the S21 Plus at 6.7 inches and S21 Ultra is 6.8 inches, optimal for watching videos and gaming. The latter two are close in size to last year’s Galaxy Note ‘phablets’ — a cross between a phone and a tablet.
The S21 series is powered by Qualcomm Inc’s Snapdragon 888 chips or Samsung’s own Exynos 2100 chips depending on the region, Samsung said. Qualcomm said last month the 5G chips will be manufactured by Samsung’s chipmaking division.