Amount bigger than ever
Russia is now China’s largest oil supplier
In response to the Ukrainian war, the EU decided on a comprehensive ban on Russian oil imports. This also has implications for trade relations between Moscow and Beijing: Chinese companies are benefiting from lower prices, and sales from Russia are growing at record levels.
Russia sold more oil to China in May than ever before, making it the largest oil supplier in the People’s Republic. China imported almost 8.42 million tons of oil from Russia last month, Beijing customs officials said. That’s almost two million barrels a day (bpd) and 55 percent more than a year ago and about a quarter more than in April. After 19 months, Russia has once again pushed Saudi Arabia as its largest oil supplier to China.
Chinese companies, such as refining giant Sinopec, have benefited from sharp price cuts after Western oil companies and department stores withdrew from the Russian market due to sanctions imposed by the war in Ukraine. Saudi Arabia delivered 7.82 million tons or 1.84 million barrels of oil to China in May, up nine percent from the previous year. However, this is about 15 percent less from April’s 2.17 million bpd.
In May, the European Union decided to largely ban Russian oil imports. However, this only applies to shipments of oil tankers by sea, oil pipeline oil was excluded from the embargo mainly under pressure from Hungary. The EU embargo should also enter into force with transitional periods.