India's Russian Oil Imports Rise to Nine-month High in April

An aerial view shows the Vladimir Arsenyev tanker at the crude oil terminal Kozmino on the shore of Nakhodka Bay near the port city of Nakhodka, Russia, Aug.12, 2022. (Reuters Photo)
An aerial view shows the Vladimir Arsenyev tanker at the crude oil terminal Kozmino on the shore of Nakhodka Bay near the port city of Nakhodka, Russia, Aug.12, 2022. (Reuters Photo)
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India's Russian Oil Imports Rise to Nine-month High in April

An aerial view shows the Vladimir Arsenyev tanker at the crude oil terminal Kozmino on the shore of Nakhodka Bay near the port city of Nakhodka, Russia, Aug.12, 2022. (Reuters Photo)
An aerial view shows the Vladimir Arsenyev tanker at the crude oil terminal Kozmino on the shore of Nakhodka Bay near the port city of Nakhodka, Russia, Aug.12, 2022. (Reuters Photo)

India's Russian oil imports rose a nine-month high in April after shipments on non-sanctioned tankers operated by Russia's largest shipping company Sovcomflot resumed, tanker data obtained from shipping and trade sources showed.
Refiners in India briefly stopped importing Russian oil in tankers belonging to Sovcomflot after the company's ships, along with its 14 tankers, were designated by Washington in February as being in breach of Western sanctions, Reuters said.
The West has imposed sanctions against Russia since it invaded Ukraine in 2022 and has enacted price caps on oil and oil products loaded at Russian ports aimed at cutting Moscow's oil revenue that funds the war.
India, the world's third-biggest oil importer and consumer, is the top client for Russian seaborne oil.
In April, the first month of the fiscal year 2024/25, Indian refiners shipped in nearly 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) of Russian oil, up about 8.2% over the previous month, expanding Russia's share in India to about 38% from 32% in the previous month, the data showed.
Overall, India imported 4.8 million bpd of oil in April, a decline of 6.5% from the previous month and marginally higher than April 2023.
However, increased purchases of Russian oil dented Indian refiners' overall purchase of Iraqi and Saudi Arabian oil during the month.
Lower imports from the Middle East further reduced the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries' share in India's crude basket to 46% in April from 53% in March, the data showed.
Higher imports of Russian oil boosted the share of oil from the Commonwealth of Independent States, comprising Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Russia, in India's imports to 41% last month from 37% in March.



Lebanon Tourism Season Revives Economic Outlook

People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Lebanon Tourism Season Revives Economic Outlook

People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)
People are seen at the arrival lounge at Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. (Asharq Al-Awsat)

The surge in visitors to Lebanon during Eid al-Adha and high demand for summer concert bookings are boosting hopes for a revival in tourism.

This sector is crucial for reigniting positive economic growth after about nine months of challenging conditions due to the Gaza war and subsequent border clashes between Hezbollah and Israel in southern Lebanon.

Contrary to earlier fears this month of possible Israeli strikes inside Lebanon, Ali Hamieh, caretaker Minister of Public Works and Transport, reported a daily average of 14,000 arrivals at Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport, with numbers on the rise.

Jean Abboud, President of the Association of Travel and Tourism Agents, confirmed that despite initial concerns, booking rates have bounced back to 90-95% after Israeli threats of a mid-month strike. Most arrivals are Lebanese expatriates and foreign workers.

Before the summer season’s anticipated surge, Lebanon saw a 5.37% decrease in arrivals, with air traffic down by 9.34% and passenger numbers at Beirut International Airport dropping by 6.84% in the first five months of this year, totaling 2.29 million travelers compared to 2.46 million last year.

These declines were linked to the border clashes.

Lebanon’s tourism sector, generating over $5 billion annually in recent years, ranks as the country’s second most vital revenue stream after expatriate remittances, which officially approach $7 billion.

Together, they contribute more than half of Lebanon’s national income, which has dropped sharply from about $55 billion to under $22 billion due to the ongoing financial and currency crises that erupted five years ago.

Despite significant losses during peak tourism seasons like Christmas, Easter, and Eid al-Fitr, a report by Bank Audi indicated that Lebanon’s tourism revenues lost over $1 billion in the first six months of the Gaza conflict, driven by a 24% drop in tourist arrivals.

On average, tourists spend around $3,000 during their stay in Lebanon.