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  • China’s imports of Russian crude oil were up in the second quarter of 2022, according to the EIA. 
  • 21% of China’s August crude imports were Russian, a 5% increase from a month earlier. 
  • Meanwhile, China is processing its own crude at two year lows. 

China has deepened its reliance on Russian crude oil, with imports soaring over the summer according to a report from the Energy Information Administration. 

Russian oil to China were as high as 21% of Beijing’s total crude imports in August, the report says, a 5% increase compared to a month earlier. In 2021, Russian crude made up 16% of China’s total crude oil imports, a sharp uptick from less than 400,000 barrels per day, or 8%, in 2011. 

The rise in oil imports from Russia shows Beijing’s willingness to engage with the Kremlin despite turmoil stemming from the war in Ukraine. Chinese President Xi Jingping has mostly toed the line between condemning the invasion without criticizing Russia, but has recently called for a more peaceful solution to the war. 

China’s overall crude imports sank at the beginning of the summer to 8.8 million barrels per day in June, the lowest level since 2018. Imports remained at that level through July before sharply increasing to 9.5 million barrels per day in August. 

Meanwhile, the report added that China is processing its own crude at the lowest level since 2020, due in large part to an uptick in COVID-19 cases and resulting lockdowns throughout the country that have dampened demand. 

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