India cuts May Iran oil imports 38 pct-trade

NEW DELHI, June 7 (Reuters) - Indian refiners cut imports from Iran by 38 percent in May from a year ago, tanker discharge data showed, in a second month of steep reductions as they switch suppliers to cushion the impact of new U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

Among Iran's other Asian buyers, South Korea plans to halt all imports by the time the European measures hit, industry sources have said, and Japan could follow suit unless Tokyo provides a sovereign insurance guarantee for oil tankers.

Indian refiners have been asked privately by the government to cut Iranian oil imports by at least 15 percent, even though publicly New Delhi does not support unilateral sanctions, according to government officials. 

The refiners are making up for the shortfall in Iranian cargoes by raising imports from the world's biggest exporter, Saudi Arabia, as well as fellow OPEC member Iraq.

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