China April crude imports from Iran down 23.7 pct
(Reuters) - China's April crude oil imports from Iran fell 23.7 percent from a year earlier to 388,034 barrels per day (bpd) due to pricing disputes over term contracts, customs data showed on Monday, with Beijing boosting shipments elsewhere to help fill the gap.
April imports are still up 53.2 percent or 134,732 bpd from 253,302 bpd in March after Iran and Beijing resolved disputes over annual contracts.
In January-April, China's crude imports from the Iran totalled 355,989 bpd, down 31 percent from a year earlier.
Unipec, trading arm of top Asian refiner China Petroleum & Chemical Corp (Sinopec) , will buy 10 to 20 percent less crude from Iran under an annual contract for 2012 compared with last year, a Chinese industry executive with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Industry sources said the decline was mostly because Sinopec slashed imports in the first quarter by about 285,000 bpd, just over half of daily imports in 2011, as the two haggled over pricing terms against a backdrop of rising international pressure on Tehran.