TOKYO (Reuters) - Imports of crude oil by Iran's four major buyers in Asia in September jumped more than 70 percent from a year ago as the producer continued to recoup market share lost under sanctions.
Iran's top four Asian buyers, China, Japan, India and South Korea, imported nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in September, government and ship-tracking data showed. That is down from the highest level in at least 5-1/2 years in August.
But oil-purchase arrivals could rise again in October, with Asian buyers loading 1.83 million bpd of crude oil and condensate this month and about 1.96 million bpd in September, according to a source with knowledge of Iran's tanker schedules.
Economic sanctions targeting the OPEC member's disputed nuclear programme were lifted in January. Tehran has been battling to raise its output and export levels since then back to where they were before toughened sanctions went into force in early 2012.
Japan's trade ministry on Monday released official data showing its imports rose 80 percent from a year earlier to nearly 313,000 bpd in September.
India's imports more than doubled from a year earlier to 552,200 bpd, down from 575,900 bpd in August, the highest in at least 15 years.
Imports by South Korea also more than doubled, while Chinese imports were up by 18 percent.
The following tables show Asia's Iran crude imports in bpd for last month and the year to date.
Nation Sep-16 Sep-15 yr/yr pct
China 492,500 416,450 18.3
India 552,200 233,200 136.8
Japan 312,825 173,971 79.8
Korea 405,833 196,967 106.0
Total 1,763,358 1,020,588 72.8
Country Jan-Sept 2016 Jan-Sept 2015 yr/yr pct
China 601,330 559,020 7.6
India 411,900 216,200 90.5
Japan 226,691 172,051 31.8
Korea 284,697 123,209 131.1
Total 1,524,618 1,070,480 42.4
(Additional reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Writing by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Tom Hogue)