China’s June imports from Saudi Arabia (1.879mn b/d) and Russia (1.748mn b/d) were both all-time highs. For 2016-18 Russia was clear top supplier: 2018 volumes were 300,000 b/d ahead of Saudi. But for the first six months of 2019 Saudi volumes have leapt by 390,000 b/d versus 2018 to put the two countries neck and neck: 1.525mn b/d for Saudi Arabia and 1.527mn b/d for Russia.

Numbers three and four suppliers Angola and Iraq have been left far behind, though both also saw volumes rise as China’s overall crude imports leapt 9% year-on-year to a record 9.89mn b/d for 1H 2019 (see chart and p9 for full data). (CONTINUED - 1328 WORDS)