China bought huge amounts of Middle East and West African crude as oil prices were collapsing in November.
Oil tankers loaded 6.5 million barrels a day from ports in the two regions for Chinese buyers in November, a 26 percent increase compared with the average over the prior 10 months, ship tracking compiled by Bloomberg shows. With deliveries taking between 25 and 40 days, many of the barrels will arrive this month or even in January.
The surge in flows happened just as Brent crude was plunging 22 percent in November, deepening a rout that got underway early the prior month. The deliveries are another piece of evidence — from shipping rates, to imports, to cargo-loading data — that indicate heightened purchasing by the Asian country.