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Oil Updates — Crude slides; Japan to take time phasing out Russian imports; China’s oil imports rebound in April

RIYADH: Oil prices slipped on Monday, along with stock markets in Asia, sparked by fears a global recession could dampen oil demand, with investors eying EU talks on a Russian oil embargo that is expected to tighten global supplies.

Brent crude dropped 28 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $112.11 a barrel by 0153 GMT.

US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $109.36 a barrel, down 41 cents, or 0.4 percent.

Japan to take time phasing out Russian oil imports

Japan will take time to phase out Russian oil imports after agreeing on a ban with other Group of Seven nations to counter Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday.

The G7 nations committed to the move “in a timely and orderly fashion” at an online meeting on Sunday to put further pressure on President Vladimir Putin, although members such as resource-poor Japan depend heavily on Russian fuel.

“For a country heavily dependent on energy imports, it’s a very difficult decision. But G7 coordination is most important at a time like now,” Kishida told reporters, repeating comments he made at the G7 meeting.

“As for the timing of the reduction or stoppage of Russian oil imports, we will consider it while gauging the actual situation,” he said. “We will take our time to take steps toward a phase-out.” He did not elaborate.

There have been no ships loading Russian oil for Japan since mid-April, according to Refinitiv data.

About 1.9 million barrels were exported from Russia to Japan in April, 33 percent down from the same month a year ago.

China’s oil imports rebound

China’s crude oil imports grew nearly 7 percent in April from the same month a year earlier, its first rise in three months, although weakening fuel demand due to COVID-19 lockdowns has dampened throughput at Chinese refineries.

The world’s top crude oil buyer imported 43.03 million tons last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Monday, equivalent to 10.5 million barrels per day.

That compares with 9.82 million bpd in April 2021 and 10.06 million bpd in March.

Imports for January-April fell 4.8 percent versus the same period last year to 170.89 million tons, or about 10.4 million bpd.

(With input from Reuters) 

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