TOKYO: Imports of Iranian crude oil by major buyers in Asia fell by nearly a fifth in February from the same month a year earlier, hitting a two-month low as all of them except India curbed purchases, government and ship-tracking data showed.

China, India, Japan and South Korea last month imported a total of 1.63 million barrels per day (bpd) from Iran, the lowest volume since December, the data showed.

Iran has been pushing to retain its prized customers in Asia but concerns that US President Donald Trump will carry out a threat to exit Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers and re-impose sanctions has dampened appetite for the country’s crude, amid a persistent global glut.

China’s February imports of Iranian crude tumbled nearly 28 per cent from the previous year to a 13-month low of 474,386 bpd.

The country’s overall crude imports rose by 1.5 per cent last month.

India’s imports from Iran rose 1.3 per cent to 655,500 bpd last month. Korea’s purchases were down almost a third.

Imports into Japan were down about 22 per cent from a year earlier at 180,144 bpd, marking the 10th straight monthly decline, data from the country’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed on Friday.