China's crude oil imports from Iran in January jumped 82.2% year on year to 2.4 million mt, or an average 566,856 b/d, according to final data released by the General Administration of Customs on Wednesday.
The imports were also up 11.2% from the December 2013 volumes, the data showed.
Iran rose to the fourth place in the list of crude oil suppliers to China in January, from the fifth position in December 2013.
The significant year-on-year increase in crude imports from Iran last month was due to a low base in January 2013, when supply from the Middle East country came in at 1.32 million mt -- down 36.8% from January 2012.
China's overall crude imports in January 2014 rose 12% year on year to a record 28.15 million mt, or 6.66 million b/d, according to preliminary customs data that was released on February 12.
Based on this, Iran accounted for 8.5% of China's total crude imports last month.
Top supplier Saudi Arabia shipped 5.09 million mt of crude oil to China in January -- down 8.6% year on year.
On the whole, China's imports of crude from the Middle East last month totaled 14.54 million mt, a 6.2% rise from a year earlier. Besides Iran, the volumes were also buoyed by Omani shipments, which soared 61.2% year on year to 2.81 million mt in January. IMPORTS FROM AFRICA, LATIN AMERICA JUMP
Crude imports from Africa rose 11.9% year on year to 6.67 million mt in January. Angola, China's second-largest supplier, exported 3.85 million mt of crude to China during the month, up 5.4% year on year.
Imports from Equatorial Guinea more than doubled from January 2013 to 526,547 mt while Algerian imports jumped 90% year on year to 242,418 mt last month. Nigerian imports also rose 45.8% year on year to hit 177,543 mt, the highest monthly level since June 2012.
Meanwhile, crude imports from South Sudan totaled 471,573 mt last month, compared with zero in January 2013, while shipments from Sudan were 335,485 mt, rising 88.2% year on year.
This helped offset a 37.5% year-on-year drop from Egypt to 131,864 mt in January and a 22.6% slide in imports from Congo-Brazzaville to 625,182 mt compared with a year ago.
Other notable increases came from Venezuela, where volumes nearly doubled year on year to 1.8 million mt last month. This boosted China's total imports from Latin America to 3.2 million mt, a whopping 72.4% increase from January 2013.
Crude imports from Colombia rose to a record high 736,421 mt in January, rising 55.6% year on year and 20.3% month on month. Imports of Brazilian crude also gained 35.2% year on year to 530,903 mt last month.