Asia is in the middle of a record heatwave, and Russia is reaping the financial rewards of it
- Asian countries like India and China have been buying cheap Russian oil despite the sanctions.
- Now, they are also snapping up huge amounts of Russian coal and natural gas.
Sweeping sanctions against the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine aren't denting Asian countries' appetite for Russian energy products.
Apart from the bumper crude oil purchases this year, countries in the region are now snapping up massive amounts of Russian thermal coal and natural gas amid a record heatwave, Bloomberg reported on Sunday, citing data from Kpler, an energy data provider.
In April, Russia exported 7.6 million metric tons of coal to buyers in Asia — more than a third higher than a year ago, per Kpler data obtained by Bloomberg.
Meanwhile, shipments of liquefied natural gas rose to 400,000 tons in April — the highest monthly import level so far this year.
In particular, India and China — two countries buying so much Russian oil that exports have hit pre-war levels — have snapped more than two-thirds of Russian coal sent to Asia in April, Bloomberg calculated using Kpler data.
"Coal imports from Russia into China are set to be the second-highest in history in May," Viktor Katona, a lead analyst at Kpler, told Insider.
China has already imported 3.7 million tons of Russian coal so far in May. The country had imported a record 3.8 million tons of fuel from Russia in July, according to Kpler.
Imports of Russian coal into China are high now partly due to the heatwave it's currently facing. This fuel is primarily used to generate power for electricity and air-conditioning.
Temperatures in parts of China have soared to well over 86 degrees Fahrenheit — even before the regular summer season arrives.
India is also baking, with temperatures hitting 113 degrees Fahrenheit in parts of northwest India on Sunday, per the Indian Express media outlet.
Even before the current heatwave in Asia, several countries in the regions mired in economic difficulties — like Laos, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka — have joined the queue for Russian energy that is now being sold at a discount.
Russia's flagship Urals crude is trading at around a $20 to $25 per barrel discount to benchmark US and Brent crude oil currently.
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