BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brazil jumped to China's third-biggest crude oil supplier in September, import data showed on Sunday, as China's independent refiners scooped up cheap supplies of the South American exporter's relatively high quality oil.
Imports from Brazil hit 4.49 million tonnes, up from 2.96 million tonnes a year earlier, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed. Brazil overtook Iraq, which fell to fifth-biggest supplier.
China's January-September imports from Brazil were 33.69 million tonnes, up 15.6% from a year earlier, according to Reuters calculations based on the data. China makes up 70% of Brazil's oil exports, the country's state oil firm Petrobras said in July.
Saudi Arabia regained the top spot in China's oil purchases last month after losing that rank to Russia for the previous two months, data showed.
Imports from the kingdom were 7.78 million tonnes, equivalent to 1.89 million barrels per day (bpd), up from August's 1.24 million bpd.
Russia supplied 7.48 million tonnes last month, or 1.82 million bpd, up 18.6% from a year earlier and up 32.8% from August, according to Reuters calculations.
For the first nine months of 2020, Russia remained the top seller with supplies totalling 64.62 million tonnes, 16% above year-ago level. Saudi Arabia trailed at 63.57 million tonnes, which was 6.5% higher on year.
U.S. shipments soared to 3.9 million tonnes in September, versus a year-earlier 517,982 tonnes.
China snapped up 13% more crude in the first nine months than a year earlier, as refiners ramped up production to meet speedy demand recovery from the pandemic and stock up at record rates on cheap oil.
(tonne = 7.3 barrels for conversion)
(Reporting by Muyu Xu in Beijing and Chen Aizhu in Singapore; Editing by William Mallard)
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