News: China spent a record $8.3 billion on Russian energy in August – Expert

The PRC continues to enjoy discounts offered by Russia for raw materials and actively buys them from Russia. The focus in Beijing is on Russian energy resources. In August, according to Bloomberg with reference to the Customs Administration of the People’s Republic of China, the Celestial Empire set a new record – it paid $8.3 billion for energy from Russia. In total, after February 24, when the military special operation began in Ukraine, the Chinese paid almost $44 billion to Moscow for oil, gas and coal, 74% more than in the same period of 2021. Expenditures on Russian energy carriers in August exceeded expenditures for the last summer month of last year by 68%.

Of course, the cost of energy imports has risen sharply due to a sharp increase in their prices, but nevertheless, China continues to increase volumes, taking advantage of the fact that Moscow often sells them at a discount. Such a system suits both sides: the PRC saves significantly on Russian raw materials, and the Russian Federation has found a huge market that can partially replace the lost European market.

The increase in spending was recorded despite China’s overall decline in energy imports this year due to a slowdown in economic recovery from the pandemic, caused, among other things, by a zero-tolerance policy for coronavirus, which provides for lockdowns and severe restrictions.

Imports of Russian oil by Beijing rose in August to 8.34 million tons from 7.15 million tons in July and 6.53 million tons in August last year. Despite a significant increase in Russian oil exports in the last summer month, for the first time since April, Russia lost the unofficial title of the main supplier of “black gold” to China to Saudi Arabia. In the remaining months before the end of the year, Russia, according to Bloomberg, is likely to increase the supply of oil and petroleum products to Asia in general and to China in particular, ahead of the European oil embargo, which comes into force in early December.

Imports of Russian coal by China in August also set a new record – 8.5 million tons, which is 57% more than a year ago. At the same time, the share of coking coal for the metallurgical industry amounted to 1.9 million tons.

Liquefied gas imports rose to 671 thousand tons, the highest level since 2020, which is 37% more than in August 2021. Gas imports from Russia, unlike oil, are mainly carried out through gas pipelines.

The cost of energy purchases by China in August amounted to 83% of total imports from Russia. In addition to energy, Beijing’s imports of other types of raw materials also increased: copper to 33.14 thousand tons, which is 25% more than a year earlier; nickel to 5.133 thousand tons, which is 245% more than in August 2021; aluminum to 41.978 thousand tons, which is 63% higher than last year; and palladium to 0.861 tons, up 447% year-over-year. Gold imports, however, dropped sharply to 263.5 kilograms. Purchases of wheat also decreased to 1968 tons, which is 31% less than in August 2021.

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