*China crude imports fell to 9.71mn b/d for March, down almost 8% on the January-February average of 10.51mn b/d and the lowest month since July last year.
*Saudi Arabia with 1.70mn b/d retained top spot ahead of Russia as it has for 10 of the last 12 months. But the gap has been close so far this year. With 1.66mn b/d for March, Russia was just 40,000 b/d behind, whilst for Q1 the gap was just over 60,000 b/d (see chart 1 and MEES, 1 May for full data). (CONTINUED - 532 WORDS)