BEIJING, Oct 24 (Reuters) – Angola became China's largest crude supplier for the second time in September, taking the top position from Russia, customs data showed on Monday.
China imported 4.19 million tonnes of oil from the southern African nation last month, up 45.8 percent from a year ago. That meant Angolan shipments stood at 1.02 million barrels per day, below 1.11 million bpd seen in August, the last time the country was the top exporter to China.
The amount of crude oil heading east from ports on Africa's west coast is expected to reach a five-month high in September, partly driven by trading houses such as Trafigura and Gunvor, a Reuters survey showed in September.
Chinese demand for Angolan oil, which is cheaper and deemed to offer stable supply, is set to accelerate in October as the refinery maintenance season comes to an end.
In the first nine months of 2016, Angola was also China's third-largest supplier. Imports jumped 17.7 percent on-year to 34.39 million tonnes (916,229 bpd) in the period, data showed.
Imports from Iraq jumped 58.4 percent in September from a year earlier to 4.07 million tonnes, or 989,400 bpd. In the January to September period, imports grew 10.3 percent from a year ago to 706,155 bpd.
Imports from Russia were down 2.14 percent year-on-year in September at 962,620 bpd. Saudi Arabia supplied 949,500 bpd, down 1.29 percent.
Saudi Arabia still holds the position of top suppler year-to-date, with shipments at 1.03 million bpd.
China imported record volumes of crude oil last month, eclipsing the United States as the world's top buyer of foreign oil as Beijing's state reserves shipped in cheap crude to fill new storage tanks.
(Reporting by Meng Meng and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Joseph Radford)
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