China's imports of Russian crude oil increased to a record high by 55 percent in May from a year earlier. Russia has thus toppled Saudi Arabia in the supplies of raw materials to China, Reuters reports.
According to the General Administration of Customs of China, oil imports from Russia amounted to almost 8.42 million tons. This is equivalent to about 1.98 million barrels per day and a quarter more than the country bought in April. Moscow regained its status of the world's largest importer of crude oil in the ranking of suppliers after a break of five months.
At the same time, overall demand for crude oil in China fell due to COVID-19 restrictions and ensuing economic slowdown. Leading importers, including refining giant Sinopec and trader Zhenhua Oil, have stepped up the purchase of cheaper Russian crude in addition to supplies from Iran and Venezuela.
Saudi Arabia has become China's second-largest supplier. Saudi Arabia increased its supplies to China by nine percent in May to 7.82 million tons.
It is worthy of note that Russian oil shipments to China by sea tripled in price compared to the figures before the special military operation in Ukraine.