China has stepped up the pressure on Iran in the face of Europe's oil embargo. China will reduce its crude oil imports from Iran for a third month, sources said today, as the two remain divided over payment and price terms, although they plan to meet again for talks as early as this week.
China is the top buyer of Iranian oil and also the fastest expanding major oil importer, putting it in a strong position to negotiate for better terms after it more than halved imports for both January and February.
The reductions for March-loading supplies will be largely the same, if not deeper, than the previous two months, industry officials with direct knowledge of the supply situation told Reuters.
China, which buys around 20 percent of Iran's total crude exports, cut its January and February purchases by about 285,000 bpd, just over one half of the total average daily amount it imported in 2011.
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