India to remain biggest buyer of Russian oil – Reuters

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The country’s share of imports may exceed 70% of all loadings this month as EU buyers shun Russian crude

India is expected to remain the top importer of Russian Urals crude oil in December for the second consecutive month, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing Refinitiv data and traders.

In November, the populous nation accounted for about 53% of the total tanker shipments of the grade, marking an all-time high.

India’s share of Russian crude exports and volumes purchased will increase month-on-month, despite a shorter loading plan for Russia’s western ports, traders told the news agency.

In December, market participants expect India’s share to top 70% of total loadings.

According to four market sources cited by the media outlet, India, the second-biggest consumer of oil in Asia, has been purchasing Urals crude at bigger discounts this month. It has paid well below the $60 per barrel price limit for Russian sea-borne oil set by the EU, G7 nations and Australia earlier this month.

The number of countries buying Russian Urals crude – one of the most popular grades as a result of the short trading cycle, cheap shipping and attractive refinery yields – is forecast to fall to just four, according to data from Refinitiv Eikon cited by Reuters.

India has taken at least two million tons of the grade since the beginning of the month. Bulgaria, which managed to obtain an exemption from the EU oil ban, is expected to become the second-largest buyer of Urals crude in December, shipping up to 800,000 tons.

Shipments of Urals blend oil to China will reportedly remain low with only one shipment of 140,000 tons sent as of December 16. However, traders expect more Urals to be exported to China by the end of the month. Meanwhile, Turkey, which has been actively buying Russian oil this year, has purchased just one December shipment of 140,000 tons.

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