Oil dips on lower crude imports from China

SINGAPORE: Oil prices fell on Wednesday as Chinese crude imports slipped to their lowest level in a year, although traders said the overall market remains well supported because of Opec-led supply cuts.
Traders said they were closely eyeing escalating tensions in the Middle East.
Brent futures were at $63.43 per barrel at 0744 GMT, down 26 cents, or 0.4 per cent. The decline follows Brent rising to an over two-year high of $64.65 earlier this week. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 was at $56.90 per barrel, down 30 cents, or 0.5 per cent, from its last settlement.
WTI also marked its highest in over two years earlier this week, at $57.69.
China’s October oil imports fell sharply from a near record-high of about 9 million barrels per day (bpd) in September to just 7.3 million bpd, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Wednesday.
That is the lowest level since October 2016, though imports were up 7.8 per cent from a year ago. “Lower imports reflected less purchases from independent refineries as many of them are running out of crude quotas for this year,” said Li Yan, oil analyst with Zibo Longzhong Information Group.
For next year, however, independent refiners are likely to boost their imports again as authorities raised the 2018 crude oil import quota by 55 per cent over 2017 to 2.85 million bpd.— Reuters