Asia’s imports of crude oil are likely to have rebounded in November to the highest this year amid pre-winter buying by top consumers and despite widespread disquiet among buying countries over high prices.
Imports by the world’s top-consuming region are estimated at 26.35 million barrels per day (bpd) for November by Refinitiv Oil Research, up strongly from October’s 22.55 million bpd.
For most of the year Asia’s imports of crude have lagged the prevailing global narrative of a recovery in demand and tight market supply, with these factors applying more to North America and Europe.
However, a rush to secure fuel supplies ahead of the northern winter prompted refiners across Asia to buy more crude for November delivery, with all the major importing countries expected to boost arrivals.
China, the world’s biggest crude buyer, is expected to import 10.47 million bpd in November, up from October’s 8.9 million bpd, which was the lowest since September 2018.
However, there are some factors at play that call into question whether China’s resurgent November imports are a flash in the pan or the start of a renewed uptrend.