China continued to be the largest importer of Russian crude oil in July when it bought 52.2 million barrels in the month.
According to Reuters, that figure represents an increase of 7.6% from the same period last year.
It also indicates that China remained Russia’s top oil buyer for a third consecutive month.
Data from the Chinese General Administration of Customs showed that China bought about 1.68 million barrels per day from Russia in July, below the record of nearly 2 million barrels per day in May.
Due to the war with Ukraine and the sanctions from the West, Russia has been selling its crude oil at discounted prices.
Chinese refiners have been taking advantage of the low oil prices to ramp up their purchases. Meanwhile, Beijing reduced their imports from Angola, Brazil and other suppliers.
Data shows that China’s oil purchases from Angola decreased 27% and from Brazil fell by 58%.
In the first seven months, China imported a total of 48.45 million tonnes from Russia, up 4.4% year-on-year.
As Russian President Vladimir Putin has launched an invasion of Ukraine, the country is selling oil at a low price to raise war funds.
With China’s large purchases, it became Russia’s big financier.
During Putin’s visit to China in February, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that there is “no upper limit” to the partnership between the two countries.
Russia is offering a very favorable oil price to China.
According to Liberty Times, the average price of Russian oil imported by China in June this year was at $94.6 a barrel, which was 18.8% cheaper than Saudi Arabia’s $116.6 a barrel.
But due to the economic downturn, China’s fuel demand recovered slower than expected. Chinese refiners are also cutting inventories.
China’s total imports of crude oil dropped 9.5% in July from a year earlier. As a result, the daily volumes in July fell to the second lowest in four years.