4 Top Importers Buy Less Oil

4 Top Importers Buy Less Oil4 Top Importers Buy Less Oil

Asian imports of Iranian oil fell nearly 6% from a year earlier in September, as Iran's biggest crude buyers held off from increasing purchases following the landmark agreement on Tehran's disputed nuclear program in July.

Imports by Iran's four biggest buyers–China, India, Japan and South Korea–totaled just over 1 million barrels per day last month, 5.9% lower than a year earlier, government and tanker-tracking data showed, Reuters reported.

Tehran is keen to recoup market share ceded under US and European Union sanctions and boost the country's economy but analysts do not expect a significant relief until next year, once agreed hurdles to increased oil exports have been cleared.

The sanctions were designed to keep Iran's exports at around 1 million bpd, down from 2.5 million bpd in 2011.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reaffirmed on Tuesday he expected sanctions on Iran to be lifted by the yearend, but most analysts say that is too optimistic, given the steps needed for Tehran to be given relief.

For the first nine months of 2015, Asian buyers took in almost 1.1 million bpd, down 6.1% from a year earlier.

Japan's purchases fell more than 15% from a year earlier to 173,971 bpd, trade ministry data showed on Friday.

Iran's oil loadings for next-month arrivals look to be headed toward a seven-month low in October, down 13% from revised September levels, according to tanker data, confirming Tehran has struggled to raise exports despite the optimism over the landmark deal.