- Russia is selling the most crude and fuel oil to China since invading Ukraine last year, according to data from Kpler.
- The analytics firm found that Russia was selling 1.66 million barrels a day to China last month.
- The increase in exports comes after China relaxed its zero-COVID policies in December, spurring more demand for energy.
Russia’s oil sales to China have hit their highest level since the start of its war with Ukraine last year, according to Bloomberg, which cited data from Kpler.
The commodities analytics firm found that Russian crude and fuel oil flows to China rose to 1.66 million barrels a day last month, up from 1.2 million December.
Previously, the highest level since the war began was 1.4 million in June 2022. The latest figure also topped the record of 1.6 million set in April 2020.
Last month’s increase in exports comes after China relaxed its zero-COVID policies in December, spurring more demand for energy.
Meanwhile, China has been snapping up discounted Russian crude as the West shuns Russia. Russian crude suppliers were slammed with sanctions from the European Union, which banned and slapped a $60 price cap on Russian crude in December. Russia’s oil and gas revenue crashed nearly 50% at the start of 2023 – a sign that Western efforts to crimp Moscow’s war revenue were taking effect.
But Putin has called the trade restrictions “stupid,” and has vowed to ramp up trade with “friendly nations” like China. In fact, Russia has been one of China’s top oil suppliers for months, according to data from the Chinese government.
Russia has also made efforts to intertwine its economy with Beijing and take its partnership to a “new level.” That includes measures like increasing its dependence on the Chinese yuan, and plans to create a new reserve currency between the two nations that could rival the US dollar.