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Japan’s February Oil Imports From Iran Fall 32.7%, METI Says

March 30 (Bloomberg) -- Japan’s crude imports from Iran in February fell 32.7 percent from a year ago amid U.S. threats of sanctions if purchases were not reduced.

Japan’s oil shipments from the Persian Gulf nation slid to 1.41 million kiloliters, or about 306,000 barrels a day, compared with 2.1 million a year earlier, according to data today from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

This compares with a 2.7 percent rise in total purchases to 17.76 million kiloliters in February, according to the trade ministry figures.

Iran was Japan’s fourth-biggest crude supplier in February. Imports from Saudi Arabia, Japan’s top oil provider, declined 0.9 percent to 5.23 million kiloliters in February, the data showed.

Imports from third-biggest supplier Qatar climbed 12.4 percent to 2.13 million kiloliters and purchases from Kuwait, which sent the fifth-largest volumes, increased 36.3 percent to 1.31 million, according to the trade ministry figures.

The Obama administration in the U.S. waived sanctions for 180 days on Japan and 10 European Union nations after they demonstrated cuts in Iranian oil purchases.

Statistics based on custom-clearance data yesterday by the Ministry of Finance also showed a decline in crude imports from Iran. Today’s trade ministry statistics, which are based on data collected from buyers via questionnaire, also include fuel in so-called bonded storage tanks that have not yet passed through customs.

The trade ministry data also found that oil product sales rose 7.3 percent from a year earlier to 18.7 million kiloliters, while exports fell 36 percent to 1.56 million. Fuel imports gained 14 percent to 3.44 million.

To contact the reporters on this story: Yuji Okada in Tokyo at yokada6@bloomberg.net; Jacob Adelman in Tokyo at jadelman1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net

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