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Japan’s 2012 Crude Imports Increase by the Most in Nine Years

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Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Japan’s crude imports in 2012 rose by the most in nine years, even as it cut supply from Iran amid an expansion of sanctions against the Middle East country.

Shipments to Japan, the world’s third-biggest crude user, rose 2.7 percent last year to 212.5 million kiloliters, or 3.65 million barrels a day, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed today. That is the biggest yearly increase since 2003, according to Bloomberg calculations based on historical METI data.

Overseas crude purchases during December were 19.3 million kiloliters, 1.1 percent higher than the same month last year, the figures showed. Oil-product imports fell 1 percent to 3.45 million, the ministry reported.

Purchases from Iran last year dropped 17 percent to 11 million kiloliters, or 189,000 barrels a day, according to the METI data.

Oil-product exports last year fell 12 percent to 24.4 million kiloliters, while imports rose 3.8 percent to 37.9 million, METI’s figures showed.

One kiloliter is equivalent to 6.2898 barrels, according to figures from BP Plc.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ramsey Al-Rikabi in Singapore at ralrikabi@bloomberg.net

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