SHARE

China’s crude oil imports from Africa are the lowest they’ve been in a least two years.

Chinese refiners will buy 28 percent less West African crude this month than a year ago, according to offtake plans and a Bloomberg News survey of eight traders.

China has replaced Africa crude with Middle East oil.

Only the U.S. buys more oil than China.

China is also buying more crude from Russian.

The global tanker fleet has felt the impact of the buying change, which has shortened delivery routes to China.

‘Daily earnings for VLCCs, each as long as three football fields and able to hold 2 million barrels of crude, plunged 92 percent this year to $1,515 on Aug. 30, according to Clarkson Plc, the biggest shipbroker. Rates averaged $7,397 since the start of 2013, on course for the lowest annual level since at least 1997. They peaked at $229,484 in December 2007.,’ Bloomberg said.

Ships need $25,000 a day to break even, according to Bloomberg.

West African oil is priced off Brent, the North Sea benchmark, Bloomberg said, while Asian grades track Dubai crude.

The U.S., meanwhile, is buying 12 percent less crude than a year ago because of increases in domestic production rises to the highest levels since 1989, according to Energy Department data.