*China’s official crude import stats for March and Q1 2021 confirm a trend apparent in figures for the first two months of the year (MEES, 26 March): a collapse to zero in official imports from Iran, but bumper imports of Iranian supplies by under-the-counter means.
*China’s official imports from Iran for Q1 were precisely zero, the first time this has been the case in decades (see chart 1). But at the same time China’s imports of crude and condensate from both Malaysia and Oman soared to quarterly records of 358,000 b/d and 933,000 b/d respectively (see chart 2). Given that in both instances these volumes are substantially higher than the countries’ overall exports, this strongly corroborates widespread reporting that Iran has been using transshipment off Oman and Malaysia to boost its crude sales to China in the face of US sanctions. (CONTINUED - 1308 WORDS)