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China May Be Taking Rebranded Iran Oil Amid Increased Scrutiny

  • Iranian crude shipments at zero in Jan.-Feb.: Chinese customs
  • However, analysts and traders say recent purchases increased

China released data that showed it imported no Iranian crude for the first time in months, a sign that oil from the U.S.-sanctioned nation may be masked as supplies from other countries.

There were zero crude shipments from Iran during January and February, the first time China has recorded no imports from the OPEC producer since August, according to customs data. However, purchases from Oman and Malaysia -- which Iranian supplies are often re-branded as -- have surged this year.