Shipments surged by 25% from January to August in annual terms, customs data shows © Getty Images/Leonid Ikan

Deliveries of Russian crude to China surged by 25% in the first eight months of the year in annual terms, data released by the Chinese General Administration of Customs on Wednesday showed.

Oil shipments amounted to 71.2 million tons between January and August as Beijing took advantage of discounts and accelerated its stockpiling of Russian crude, according to the figures. In terms of value, however, oil imports from Russia to China stood at $38.1 billion, marking a 4.1% decline compared to the same period last year.

Moscow again edged out Saudi Arabia as China’s top oil supplier. The Middle Eastern country exported 60.1 million tons worth $36.49 billion during the reported period, while Iraq ranked third, supplying 40.3 million tons worth $23.04 billion.

Crude exports to China in August surged by 30.7% compared to July, and were up 42.7% in terms of value, reaching $5.8 billion.

In 2022, China ramped up its purchases of Russian oil by 8.2% to 86.2 million tons. The cost of crude imported from Russia rose by about 43.9%, amounting to $58.37 billion.

China has been purchasing more Russian oil after traditional Western buyers shunned it as part of Ukraine-related sanctions. Following last year’s G7 embargo and price cap on Russian oil, Moscow has been actively redirecting its oil flows to Asia.

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