South Korean imports of crude and condensates fell to a two-year low 2.894mn b/d in Q2, with volumes from the Middle East down 5% quarter-on-quarter and 8%, year-on-year (see p5). The Middle East’s share has fallen precipitously from 86.4% over 2016 to just 73.4% in the second quarter of 2019. This is largely due to Seoul offering importers a rebate of part of the freight costs for the purchase of non-Middle East supplies, a policy which will run to 2021 (MEES, 17 May).

Korea imported...