China chugs Saudi oil, drawing MBS into its orbit
Beijing’s crude imports from the Gulf monarchy jumped by more than 75% in October


China has upped its imports of Saudi oil significantly, part of a bid to draw Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman into its orbit amid an ongoing trade war with the United States.

Beijing’s crude oil imports from Saudi Arabia rose to nearly 2 million barrels per day (bpd) in October, up 24 million bpd or 76.3% compared to the previous month, Saudi daily Asharq al-Awsat reported, citing China’s General Administration of Customs.

Two new Chinese refineries – Hengli Petrochemical and Zhejiang Petrochemical – played a major role in the bump, the Saudi daily said.

While US sanctions on Venezuela, and to a lesser extent on Iran, have played a role in the Chinese leaning on Saudi Arabia for the crucial commodity, Beijing is also looking to Riyadh as a key bulwark against Trump’s trade war.