BEIJING/SINGAPORE - China's crude oil imports from the United States soared 13 fold in November from a year earlier to the third highest on record, customs data showed on Friday, as companies accelerated energy purchases set out under a trade deal with Washington.
China's U.S. oil imports hit 3.61 million tonnes, about 878,839 barrels per day (bpd). That's up from 0.26 million tonnes in November last year and versus October's 1.625 million tonnes, data from the General Administration of Customs showed.
The November level compares to the record set in September of 3.9 million tonnes,
Saudi Arabia regained its ranking as China's top supplier with shipments up 43% from October at 8.48 million tonnes, or 2.06 million bpd, as the leading OPEC exporter slashed prices to Asian customers to boost market share.
Imports from the kingdom during the January-November period rose 2.2% from a year ago to 77.98 million tonnes.
Second-ranked supplier Russia supplied 6.1 million tonnes, or 1.48 million bpd, data showed, versus October's 1.56 million bpd.
Saudi Arabia and Russia are in a tight race to become China's top oil supplier in 2020, with both countries boosting crude exports to the economic powerhouse even as the coronavirus pandemic hit global demand for oil this year.
No.3 supplier Iraq shipped 5.098 million tonnes to China, or 1.24 million bpd, with volumes in the first 11 months totalling 56.94 million tonnes, nearly 21% above the year-ago level.
China took no oil from Venezuela again, the data showed. State giant CNPC, the South American country's top client, stopped lifting Venezuelan oil more than a year a ago over fears of U.S. sanctions.
(Reporting by Min Zhang in Beijing and Chen Aizhu in Singapore; Editing by Kirsten Donovan) ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +65 6870 3284; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))