Imports of Iranian crude oil by major buyers in Asia hit their lowest in more than five years in November as US sanctions on Iran’s oil exports took effect last month, government and ship-tracking data showed.

China, India, Japan and South Korea last month imported about 664,800 barrels per day (bpd) from Iran, according to the data, down 12.7 per cent from the same month a year earlier.

South Korea cut imports to zero for a third month in November while Japan followed suit. India’s November imports are down about 40 per cent from October, the data showed.

Asia’s Iranian oil imports are set to rise from December after the United States granted eight countries waivers from sanctions against Iran’s oil exports for 180 days.

China’s Iranian oil imports rebounded to close to 390,000 bpd in November, up from about 247,000 bpd in October, the lowest in more than five years.

Sinopec, Tehran’s biggest crude buyer, resumed Iran oil imports shortly after China received its waiver in November while China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) will restart lifting its own Iranian oil production in December.

Japan and South Korea are preparing to resume Iranian oil imports in early 2019.

India is expected to restrict its monthly purchases of Iranian oil to 1.25 million tonnes, or 9 million barrels, during the waiver period from November.

The tables below outline Iran crude imports in bpd by Asia’s biggest buyers for November and the year to date:

Nation Nov 2018 Nov 2017 yr/yr pct

China 388,726 247,160 57.3

India 276,100 466,400 -40.8

Japan 0 48,033 0

Korea 0 0 0

Total 664,826 761,593 -12.7

Nation Jan-Nov 2018 Jan-Nov 2017 yr/yr pct

China 593,047 627,862 -5.6

India 552,300 466,600 18.4

Japan 139,241 167,897 -17.1

S. Korea 58,202 416,650 -86.0

Total 1,342,790 1,679,009 -20