China-Iran Trade Report (August 2022) — Bourse & Bazaar Foundation

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China’s trade surplus grows

New data released by the General Administration of Customs of the People’s Republic of China (GACC) for August 2022 shows a slight rebound in Chinese imports from Iran after the significant decline recorded in July. The rebound was led by non-oil imports, with the reported value of Iranian crude that reached China near zero. ___STABLE_PAYWALL___

In August, Chinese imports from Iran settled just under the $500 million mark. The slight rebound in Chinese imports was led by non-oil mineral products (HS Chapter 24), which reached $44 million. In August, after a significant drop in July, the value of imports of organic chemicals (HS Chapter 29) fell to $116 million.

The total value of Chinese imports was negatively affected by a further drop in oil imports, which fell to $1.5 million. The August data is consistent with the significant decline in reported Chinese imports of Iranian crude in July. Oil import data for the past two months could suggest a similar trend to that seen between February and June 2022, during which China effectively reduced imports of Iranian crude to zero for three consecutive months before declaring more than $200 million for two consecutive months. At the same time, Chinese oil imports from the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia remain high, indicating that a large volume of Iranian oil is entering China despite the drop in reported imports. Therefore, it remains difficult to assess the real impact of discounted Russian oil marketed from Chinese teapot refineries on the volume of Chinese imports of Iranian crude oil via third countries.

Chinese exports to Iran remained stable, remaining slightly above the $1 billion threshold. Month on month, the value of exported organic chemicals (HS Chapter 29) decreased by 25%. Exports of electrical machinery (HS Chapter 85) totaled $169 million, the highest value since the start of the year. Similarly, in August, Iran imported $232 million worth of cars and other vehicles from China, continuing the growth trend that began in March 2022. Overall, the high value of Chinese exports continues to tilt the Sino-Iranian trade balance in favor of Beijing.

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