Saudi Arabia remains Japan’s top oil supplier

Japan is the world’s-third biggest oil consumer after the U.S. and China

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Kuwait’s crude oil exports to Japan grew 4.4 percent in January from a year earlier to 8.26 million barrels or 266000 barrels per day (bpd) for the first increase in two months government data showed Monday.

As Japan’s fourth-biggest oil provider Kuwait supplied 7.8 percent of the Asian nation’s total crude imports the Japanese Natural Resources and Energy Agency said in a preliminary report carried by KUNA.

Japan’s overall imports of crude oil declined 2.5 percent year-on-year to 3. million bpd for the second straight month of drop. Shipments from the Middle East accounted for 87.1 percent of the total up 6.8 percentage points from the year before.

Saudi Arabia remained Japan’s No.1 oil supplier with imports from the kingdom surging 24.8 percent from a year earlier to 1.32 million bpd followed by the United Arab Emirates with 854000 bpd down 2.1 percent. Qatar ranked third with 278000 bpd and Russia fifth with 211000 bpd respectively.

Japan is the world’s-third biggest oil consumer after the U.S. and China.

Oil prices diverged Monday as traders balanced U.S. demand hopes against the stubborn supply glut that has plagued the market in recent years.

This article first appeared in the Saudi Gazette on March 1, 2016.

Around 1200 GMT, the U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for delivery in April declined 22 cents at $32.56 a barrel.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for April advanced 23 cents to $35.33 a barrel compared with Friday’s close.

Crude futures had risen in earlier Asian trading on Monday, boosted by hopes that strengthening growth in top global consumer the United States will soak up some of the chronic supply glut.

Chief market strategist Michael McCarthy at CMC Markets in Sydney said last week’s better-than-expected US growth and manufacturing data signaled stronger demand for oil.

The oil market has, however, slumped by about 70 percent from a mid-2014 high over concerns of a lasting surplus of supplies, at a time when growth in top consumers like China is slowing.

Oil rallied sharply last week on hopes that top producers will cut output, but McCarthy said traders have “heavily discounted” speculation of a deal between members of OPEC.

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