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Asia absorbs big rise in Russian Urals crude exports - sources
MOSCOW, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Asian markets are showing no let up in their demand for Russian oil, absorbing a big rise in seaborne exports of Urals crude this month and helping Moscow cope even as most Western buyers stay away, according to traders' and Refinitiv Eikon data.
At least 5.1 million tonnes of Urals are being shipped from Russia's European ports of Primorsk, Ust-Luga and Novorossiysk to Asia in January, the data show.
The final destinations for another 1.9 million tonnes of the grade has yet to be identified, but traders expect most of them will also end up in India or China.
As a result, Urals crude loadings bound for Asia in January could reach some 7 million tonnes, up by some 2 million tonnes from December, according to Reuters calculations.
Turkey and Bulgaria remain the only buyers of the grade in Europe's seaports, the data show.
The rise in Urals shipments to Asia comes amid a general increase in Russia's seaborne oil supplies. Crude loadings from Primorsk and Ust-Luga this month are set to rise 50% from December to above 7 million tonnes - the highest in four years.
Urals supplies for ship-to-ship transfers for further deliveries to Asia in January are expected to reach at least 1.4 million tonnes.
Russian oil flows to Turkey this month, meanwhile, were assessed at around 400,000 tonnes, while Bulgaria, which is excluded from a European Union ban on Russian oil, is set to receive about 560,000 tonnes of Urals and Siberian Light.
Russia has been diverting its trade away from the EU to other markets, mainly in Asia and Latin America, amid the deep political rift that followed Moscow's move to send tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine last February.