Japan’s crude oil imports in January soared 18.1% to 130.89 million barrels from a year ago, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry reported, reflecting fears by Japanese distributors of rising crude prices.
The ministry said some imported oil was set aside for stockpiling.
Crude prices have increased since the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries implemented a production cutback Jan. 1, in a move to boost world oil prices to its official $18-a-barrel target.
The ministry said the average price of imported crude oil stood at $13.28 a barrel in January, up $1.19 a barrel from December.
The ministry said the United Arab Emirates--an OPEC member--was the largest crude supplier to Japan, with a record 29.65 million barrels, accounting for 22.6% of the January total.