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China Fuel Oil Imports Climb to Five-Year High on Iran Supplies

China’s fuel oil imports surged to the highest level in five years last month as the country boosted purchases from Iran, customs data show.

Imports of the residual fuel, used by power plants and so-called teapot oil refineries, rose 19 percent to 2.83 million tons from a month earlier, according to data e-mailed by the General Administration of Customs in Beijing today. That’s the most since May 2008. Shipments from Iran climbed to 526,203 tons in May, the highest since February 2004 when Bloomberg started tracking the data.

Iran ranked as China’s second-largest fuel oil supplier in May after Russia, which shipped 632,078 tons, the data show. Singapore was the third-biggest with 460,872 tons. Supplies from Iran cost $609.98 a ton, compared with $629.49 from Singapore and $685.75 from Russia, according to the data.

China bought a total of 804,034 tons of Iranian fuel oil in the first five months of this year, compared with about 1,322 tons in 2012 and 428 tons in 2011.

The nation imported 2.4 million tons of crude from the Persian Gulf country in May, 6.4 percent more than a year earlier, the data shows. That’s the biggest volume since December.

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