China has saved nearly $10 billion through record purchases of oil from Western-sanctioned countries. Reuters brought in this calculation based on data produced by various ship trackers and traders.
To lower the cost of oil imports for refiners in China, which is a top economic rival of the United States, the latter imposed sanctions on the refiners. The consequences of the sanctions are unintended as the United States and other Western countries put sanctions on oil producers like Iran, Russia, and Venezuela. On the other hand, China often criticizes such penalties as “unilateral.”
Analysts at Reuters compared the purchase of importers in China from the sanctioned countries to what they would have paid by purchasing similar grades from non-sanctioned countries. Furthermore, China’s oil purchases also act as a revenue lifeline for Russia, Iran, and Venezuela. Various Western sanctions and a lack of investment curtailed the economies of these countries.
According to Reuters.com,
“China shipped in a record 2.765 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude by sea from Iran, Russia, and Venezuela in the first nine months of 2023, according to an average of data provided by tanker trackers Vortexa and Kpler. The three countries accounted for a quarter of China’s imports between January and September, up from about 21% in 2022 and double the 12% share in 2020.”
However, compared to China’s bill of oil imports, the savings only amount to a fraction. However, these savings matter for small and independent refiners in China, who want to have the best buy for themselves and are constantly looking for bargains.On questioning, China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry did not respond. Rather, the Ministry repeated its long-standing stance of opposing unilateral sanctions.
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