Crude imports from Iran slumped 63 percent in October to the second-lowest level since the U.S. exempted Japan from sanctions targeting the Middle East country’s nuclear program.
Oil purchases fell to 469,024 kiloliters, or about 95,000 barrels a day, compared with 1.28 million kiloliters in October 2011, according to data Thursday from the Finance Ministry. Imports fell 48 percent from September. Total crude purchases shrank 25 percent from a year ago to 12.7 million kiloliters, the Finance Ministry said Nov. 21.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in March exempted Japan from sanctions on banks doing business with Iran because it took steps to reduce imports from the Persian Gulf nation. Since then, the only month below October levels was August, when 418,203 kl were imported, a 67 percent drop from the previous year.
Japanese buyers are continuing to reduce imports of Iranian crude to avoid losing the exemption, which was renewed in September for a second six-month term, Victor Shum, a Singapore-based managing director at IHS Inc., said.
“Japan, like other North Asian consumers that have received waivers from the U.S. government, needs to continue efforts to reduce consumption of Iranian oil,” Shum said.