Forty-three countries supplied crude petroleum oil to China in 2019. Roughly half (44.8%) of Chinese imported crude oil originates from nine Middle Eastern nations ranging from $386 million from Egypt up to $40.1 billion for Saudi Arabia.
Note that globally crude oil is priced in American dollars. Based on the average exchange rate for 2019, the Chinese yuan depreciated by -10.9% against the US dollar since 2015 and declined by -4.4% from 2018 to 2019. The weaker Chinese yuan makes China’s imported crude oil paid for in stronger US dollars in 2019 relatively more expensive when converted starting from Chinese yuans.
China’s Top Providers of Imported Crude Oil
Below are the top 15 countries that supplied 90.1% of the crude oil imported into China during 2019.
- Saudi Arabia: US$40.1 billion (16.8% of China’s total imported crude oil)
- Russia: $36.5 billion (15.3%)
- Iraq: $23.7 billion (9.9%)
- Angola: $22.7 billion (9.5%)
- Brazil: $18.5 billion (7.8%)
- Oman: $16.4 billion (6.9%)
- Kuwait: $10.8 billion (4.5%)
- United Arab Emirates: $7.3 billion (3.1%)
- Iran: $7.1 billion (3%)
- United Kingdom: $6.3 (2.7%)
- Congo: $5.54 billion (2.3%)
- Malaysia: $5.5 billion (2.3%)
- Colombia: $5.4 billion (2.3%)
- Libya: $4.8 billion (2%)
- Venezuela: $4.4 billion (1.9%)
Together, five of China’s leading crude petroleum suppliers (Saudi Arabia, Russia, Iraq, Angola plus Brazil) generate well over half (59.3%) of overall Chinese crude oil imports for 2019.
China’s top 10 crude petroleum providers supply approximately four-fifths (79.3%) of its imported crude oil.
Fastest-Growing Suppliers of China’s Imported Crude Oil
The value of Chinese purchases of crude oil from its 15 top suppliers amounted to a subtotal $215.1 billion in 2019, up by an average 0.4% from the $214.3 billion worth of imported crude bought from the top 15 providers during 2018.
- United Kingdom: Up 44.3% since 2018
- Saudi Arabia: Up 35.1%
- Brazil: Up 14.3%
- Malaysia: Up 13.8%
- United Arab Emirates: Up 9.5%
- Colombia: Up 7.6%
- Iraq: Up 5.9%
- Libya: Up 0.5%
- Russia: Down -3.7%
- Oman: Down -5.4%
- Angola: Down -8.7%
- Kuwait: Down -9.3%
- Congo: Down -12.9%
- Venezuela: Down -36.6%
- Iran: Down -52.9%
After overtaking Libya one year earlier, the fastest gainer among the top 15 suppliers of crude oil to China from 2018 to 2019 was the United Kingdom via its 44.3% year-over-year increase.
Another notable gain was the 35.1% increase for Saudi Arabia enabling that supplier to leapfrog over Russia (up 15.3%) as the number one crude oil provider to the People’s Republic.
Eight of the top 15 suppliers increased their crude oil sales by more than the overall average 0.4% uptick from 2018 to 2019 when all 43 of China’s crude oil sources are included in the calculation.
See also Crude Oil Exports by Country, Crude Oil Imports by Country and China’s Top 10 Exports
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Country Profiles. Accessed on March 18, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on March 18, 2020
Wikipedia, List of crude oil products. Accessed on March 18, 2020