Russia’s crude shipments tumbled in the week to Aug. 12, dropping to their lowest since March. The volume sent to key Asian buyers, who have stepped in to take barrels shunned by Europe, fell to its smallest since Russian troops invaded Ukraine in February.
Even if all the crude on ships showing no final destination ends up in Asia, the flow would still be the smallest since March. While a single week’s figures are not enough to signal the start of a trend, lower flows to China and India, Russia’s two largest export markets, will cause concern in the Kremlin. Shipments to Asia have been drifting lower from a plateau of about 2 million barrels a day sustained from mid-April to mid-June.