*The first comprehensive official crude import data for March and Q1 is in. And this shows that Korea’s Q1 crude imports were down by 6.4% versus a year earlier (see data, MEES, 17 April). For Taiwan, Q1 imports were up fractionally year-on-year, but March volumes were down 16% from Jan-Feb 2020 levels and 12% below March 2019 (MEES, 17 April). Whilst comprehensive data for China has yet to be released, headline import numbers for March show that volumes were well below Q4 2019 levels but actually up somewhat year-on-year (MEES, 17 April).
*Of course, China was the first country to be severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. But Taiwan and South Korea both saw their first cases in January. And whilst neither has implemented a full lockdown, or had anything like the number of deaths of several European countries, both saw a severe contraction in economic activity from February. (CONTINUED - 583 WORDS)