(Bloomberg) -- China imported more crude in April, likely on the back of increased tanker supply from Russia. 

The nation received 43.03 million tons of crude last month, or 10.51 million barrels a day, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from the General Administration of Customs. That’s up 4% from March and the most since January. 

The increase is likely driven by a 20% jump in seaborne shipments from Russia in April, according to Emma Li, an analyst with Vortexa Ltd. It is unclear whether the extra volumes was bought before or after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of February, she said. Official country breakdowns will be released later this month. 

Chinese refiners have continued to buy Russian oil from seaborne routes and inland pipelines despite a tightening of sanctions following its invasion of Ukraine. Independent refiners, known as teapots, have been snatching up Urals and ESPO grades at discounts to ICE Brent prices. Meanwhile. state-owned giant PetroChina Co. said it isn’t seeking any discounted Russian supplies and is only purchasing fuel from the country through its existing contracts.

Meanwhile, China’s net fuel exports rose to 2.34 million tons, the highest since June, as domestic demand weakened amid wider coronavirus lockdowns. Local consumption of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel slumped 20% in April, the biggest drop since the Wuhan lockdown more than two years ago. 

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