Oil prices saw an increase on Monday as optimism rose over China’s demand recovery. Brent crude rose 41 cents, or 0.49 percent, to $83.41 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude was up 35 cents to $76.69 a barrel. The gains came after prices fell $2 a barrel on Friday.
Meanwhile, India’s Russian oil imports surged to a record 1.4 million barrels per day in January, up 9.2 percent from December. Russia is now the top monthly oil seller to New Delhi, followed by Iraq and Saudi Arabia, according to data from trade sources. Last month, Russian oil accounted for about 27 percent of the 5 million barrels per day of crude imported by India, the world’s third-biggest oil importer and consumer.
Refiners in India, which used to avoid buying Russian oil due to costly logistics, have emerged as Russia’s key oil client, snapping up discounted crude shunned by Western nations since the invasion of Ukraine last February. In January, India’s imports of Russian Sokol crude oil were the highest so far at 100,900 barrels per day. India’s imports of oil from Canada also rose to 314,000 barrels per day as Reliance Industries boosted purchases of long-haul crude.
During April-January, the first 10 months of this fiscal year, Iraq continued to be the largest oil supplier to India, while Russia became the second-biggest supplier, replacing Saudi Arabia, which is now in third place. The higher purchases of Russian oil dragged down Indian imports from the Middle East to an all-time low of 48 percent, and member nations of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries declined to the lowest ever. India’s oil imports typically rise in December and January as state-run refiners avoid maintenance shutdowns in the first quarter to meet their annual production targets fixed by the government.
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