Reuters is out with a report that China is buying up oil from Saudi Arabia and other sources to reduce the amount it depends on Iran as it negotiates prices with Tehran. Reuters' Judy Hua and Alex Lawler report:
Industry sources told Reuters that Beijing had bought the bulk of an increase in crude oil supplies from top oil exporter Saudi Arabia in the last few months.
The world's second-largest oil consumer is also importing more cargoes from West Africa, Russia and Australia to replace reduced supplies from Iran.
The squeeze is motivated by business not diplomacy, as China looks to improve its bargaining position and take advantage of the Iran's customer shortage in the face of sanctions from Europe and the United States. It was widely expected that Chinese importers would use the nuclear standoff to its advantage. Motivations aside, the news is still bad for Iran, and maybe for the world. As The Atlantic's Jordan Weissmann explained last month, the more people buy into Iran's sanctions, the more volatile the world's economy becomes.