According to preliminary estimated data, OECD crude oil imports increased by around 1% in July compared to the previous month, after declining for three consecutive months. Despite the relatively healthy increase in Japan’s crude oil imports, the minor rise in Europe’s crude oil inflows and the steady level of South Korean imports in July compared to the previous month, the decline in US crude oil imports offset all other increases. The rises in Japan and Europe came on the back of increased refinery runs. On the product side, OECD product imports declined more than 1% on the back of lower Japanese imports while US product imports remained steady during the same period. On an annual basis, both crude oil and product imports indicated a decline of around 5%.
OECD crude oil exports remained relatively steady with a minor increase of 1% in July from the previous month. Similarly, product exports increased moderately to push total OECD oil exports 1.4% higher in July compared to the previous month. Following the annual trend of OECD imports, total OECD exports declined by 7% in July y-o-y. As a result, OECD net oil imports dropped a marginal 0.5% in July driven by a 17% fall in net product imports in July. OECD net crude oil imports offset the decline with an increase of 0.7%, however, this was not enough to bring total OECD net oil imports over to the positive side. On an annual basis, OECD net oil imports indicated a decline of around 4%.
For the sources of imports, Saudi Arabia and Russia maintained their positions as OECD’s top suppliers in July with around 14% each. Canada, Norway and Venezuela followed with around 6% each. On the product side, Russia and the Netherlands maintained their positions as top suppliers of OECD products with around 9% each.
In August, data showed that US oil imports declined to reach the lowest level since March 2007. US crude oil imports remained relatively steady with a minor decline of 0.4% from the previous month. Despite the consistent refinery utilization rates in August, crude oil imports declined, dragging crude oil stocks down from the end of July level. Additionally, the backwardation market discouraged further crude oil imports.
As for products, US imports declined in August by around 9% to reach the lowest level since February. US product imports in August indicated a heavy annual decline of more than 17%. Imports of gasoline were themain driver of the decline in August as the arbitrage closed on the back of easing US prices. Gasoline production in the US remained at a steady level in August compared to the previous month with only a minor decline. As a result, gasoline stocks fell. Additionally, imports of fuel oil declined in August compared to the previous month, however, the increase in distillate imports in the same period offset the decline.
With total US exports remaining steady with a minor increase in product exports, US net oil imports declined 3% in August from the previous month. US net crude oil imports averaged less than 1% lower than the previous month while net product imports declined 13% in August. Compared to the same period last year, US net oil imports indicated a y-o-y decline of 8%.
With 19% and 15% respectively, Canada and Saudi Arabia remained the main suppliers of US crude oil in June followed by Mexico and Venezuela with 14% and 11%. OPEC Member Countries supplied 55% of US crude oil. On the product side, Canada maintained the US top product supplier with 14%, followed by Russia and Venezuela with 7% each. OPEC Member Countries supplied the US with 17% of its total product imports.
According to preliminary estimated data, Japan’s crude oil imports remained steady in August with a minor decline of around 1% compared to the previous month. With an increase in refinery utilization in August, steady crude oil imports led to a decline in stocks from last month’s level. However, despite the minor decline, annual crude oil imports indicated a y-o-y growth of around 7% attributable to the increase in demand for power generation due to the recent earthquake which affected nuclear power generation capacity. On the product side, Japan’s imports increased more than 20% in August from the previous month supported by higher fuel oil imports. Despite this increase, product imports indicated an annual decline of 13%.
Japan’s product exports remained relatively steady with a minor decline of 4% in August compared to the previous month. As a result, Japan’s net oil imports increased 2% in August from a month ago supported by net product imports which broke the previous month’s decline. Net crude oil imports declined in August on the back of lower imports.
As for the sources of imports, Saudi Arabia with 26% and the UAE with 24% were the largest crude oil suppliers accounting for around 50% of Japan’s total crude oil imports in July. Qatar followed with around 12%, Iran and Kuwait came next with around 10% each. OPEC Member Countries supplied around 84% of Japan’s total crude oil imports. On the product side, Saudi Arabia and the UAE remained the top suppliers providing together around 30% of Japan’s product imports.
China’s crude oil and product imports crept upward in July rising 82,000 b/d to average 4.37 mb/d. Crude oil imports increased by 62,000 b/d or 1.8% compared to the previous month to average 3.5 mb/d, which corresponds to a gain of almost 1.0 mb/d or 39.5% from a year earlier. However, product imports gained a marginal 20,000 b/d or 2.3% over the previous month, although compared to a year earlier product imports were 223,000 b/d or 20.5% lower.
Despite the anticipated shutdown of refinery capacity in China for maintenance in August and September, the increased volumes of crude oil imports in July reflect the continuing healthy demand for gasoil, gasoline and fuel oil that China had witnessed over the previous months.
In spite of high fuel oil prices, China’s fuel oil imports increased by more than 1% in July, reflecting continued healthy demand for power generation as well as feedstock for private refiners which supported imports. Additionally, stronger imports of jet fuel in July supported product imports whichoccurred due to the peak travel season.
China’s product exports declined in July on the back of domestic demand as well as the government’s decrease in export rebate in order to control trade. With a 138,000 b/d drop in total crude oil and product exports, China’s net oil imports showed an increase of 220,000 b/d or 5.7% in July over the previous month. Compared to the same month last year, net oil imports displayed a y-o-y growth or 875,000 b/d or 27%.
Saudi Arabia was China’s top crude oil supplier in July with 16%, followed by Angola with 15% and Oman with 11%. Russia’s share of Chinese imports was 9%, while Iran, which had been China’s top crude oil supplier in the previous month, dropped to fifth place with 8%.
India’s crude oil imports rebounded in July with an increase of around 9% from the previous month to reach 2.55 mb/d. This increase followed two consecutive declines of 5.8% in May and 5.5% in June each compared to the previous month. Annually, India’s crude oil imports showed an 8.4% increase in July over the same month in 2006. The rise in crude oil imports came on the back of some refiners preparing to increase throughput in the coming months. Similarly, India’s product imports increased in July in comparison to the previous month to reach the highest level so far in 2007. India’s product imports increased by more than 10% compared to the previous month to reach 0.41 mb/d. Annually, India’s product imports increased by 35% in July compared to the same month in 2006.
Imports of diesel, which comprised 27% of India’s product imports in July, declined slightly from the previous month while imports of gasoline increased on the back of healthy local demand. Similarly, imports of naphtha and jet fuel rose in July, while increased requirements from power generation supported higher fuel oil imports in July. On the export side, India’s product exports increased in July on the back of private refiners adding to their exports to take advantage of the high international prices.
As a result, India’s net oil imports rebounded in July after two consecutive months of decline to increase by 11%. This increase came as a result of increases in both India’s crude oil and product imports in July, together with the 4% increase in India’s product exports in the same month. On an annual basis, India’s net oil imports indicated an increase of 9% in July compared to the same month last year.