China continues to increase Russia’s war chest with increased purchases of energy resources as other countries shun Russian goods over its invasion of Ukraine, Bloomberg reported Monday.
Between March and July, China spent $35 billion on Russian oil, gas and coal, up from $20 billion in the same period last year, Bloomberg said, citing the latest figures from China Customs.
In July alone, China’s spending on Russian energy rose to $7.2 billion from $4.7 billion in July 2021.
The jump is attributed to both an increase in the volumes of Russian resources imported by China, sometimes at reduced tariffs, as well as the global spike in energy prices due to the invasion of Ukraine. Informal boycotts by Western oil majors and trading houses over the invasion of Ukraine have also created deep discounts for Russian oil.
The Bloomberg report follows research indicating that Russia likely generated a record $97 billion in revenue from fossil fuel exports during the first 100 days of war in Ukraine between February 24 and June 3.
According to Chinese customs data cited for March-July, Russia overtook Indonesia as China’s top coal supplier, rising 14% year-on-year to a record 7.4 million tonnes.
Russian coking coal for China’s steel industry jumped 63% to 2 million tonnes, Bloomberg reported.
Exports of liquefied natural gas increased by 20% compared to July 2021, although they fell to around 410,000 tonnes compared to June 2022.
Crude oil imports increased by 8% year-on-year despite falling to 7.15 million tonnes from June 2022.
China also imported more aluminum, palladium and wheat from Russia, with volumes jumping 16% to 52%. Imports of refined copper and refined nickel fell by 20% and 10% each.