(MENAFN) According to recent data from the General Administration of Customs in Beijing, Russia has replaced Saudi Arabia as China's largest oil supplier in the first two months of 2023. The data shows that crude deliveries from Russia amounted to 15.68 million tons in January and February, which is approximately 1.94 million barrels per day (bpd). This marks a significant increase of 23.8 percent when compared to the same period in 2022. On the other hand, imports from Saudi Arabia, which was China's top supplier last year, totaled 13.92 million tons in the same reporting period, or 1.72 million bpd, down from 1.81 million bpd during the same period last year.
The increasing tensions with the West and the G7 price cap have made Russia look for new buyers in Asia, with China being a significant market. Over the past year, China has gradually increased its oil imports from Russia. By the end of 2022, Russia had become China's second-largest supplier, delivering 86.2 million tons, whereas Saudi Arabia delivered 87.49 million tons in the same period.
China has become a crucial economic partner for Russia, especially in the face of intensifying Western sanctions. Russia has been able to increase its trade with China, becoming the leader among China's top-20 partners in terms of trade growth in 2022. The shift in oil supply from Saudi Arabia to Russia also highlights the changing dynamics of the oil market, with Russia becoming an increasingly important player. While the change in oil supply may have implications for the geopolitical landscape of the region, it remains to be seen how it will impact the global oil market as a whole.
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