June 28, 2019 / 6:39 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Asia's Iran oil imports fall to lowest in at least 5 years in May

    * May imports at 386,021 bpd, lowest since at least 2014 -
    * Asia's Iran oil imports for 2016-2019 tmsnrt.rs/2cNidjY

 (Adds details, table, graphics)
    By Florence Tan
    SINGAPORE, June 28 (Reuters) - Asia's crude oil imports from
Iran fell in May to the lowest in at least five years after
China and India wound down purchases amid U.S. sanctions, while
Japan and South Korea halted imports, data from government and
trade sources showed on Friday.
    Total imports from Asia's top four buyers came to 386,021
barrels per day (bpd) of Iranian crude in May, down 78.5% from a
year ago to the lowest monthly level since the data began to be
collected by Reuters in 2014.
    Imports had hit a 9-month high of 1.62 million bpd just a
month earlier as buyers rushed to ship in as much as they could
before waivers from U.S. sanctions on Iran expired at the start
of May.
    The United States withdrew from a nuclear accord between
world powers and Iran last year and re-imposed sanctions on
Tehran that cut off legitimate means for the OPEC producer to
export its oil. 
    The absence of Iranian oil drove spot premiums for crude
sharply higher as Asian buyers scoured the world for replacement
    The tables below outline Iran crude imports in bpd by Asia's
biggest buyers for May and the year to date:
 Nation         May-19      May-18  yr/yr pct
 China         254,021                  -63.1
 India         132,000                  -81.3
 Japan               0                 -100.0
 Korea               0                 -100.0
 Total         386,021   1,798,090      -78.5
 Nation    Jan-May      Jan-May     yr/yr pct
           2019         2018        
 China         491,947                  -25.6
 India         269,100                  -53.9
 Japan         113,270                  -31.3
 Korea         220,066                  -25.4
 Total       1,094,383   1,704,580      -35.8

 (Reporting by Florence Tan; editing by Richard Pullin)
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