The President of Japanese Petroleum Association, Tsutomu Sugimori, said that Japan’s crude oil imports is expected to remain at the current tepid pace until the end of 2020, after it reached the lowest monthly level in July due to the spread of pandemic which had slashed domestic oil demand, S&P platts reported.

Sugimori’s remarks were said during a press conference in Tokyo, when asked to comment on Japan’s crude import outlook beyond October. Japan’s crude imports had fallen to the lowest level in more than half a century over June-July.

“Although [domestic] demand has been declining in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we have been taking contractual [crude] volumes,” Sugimori said. “This has increased crude stocks sharply, which has resulted in a significant reduction [in crude imports] over July-September to reduce the stocks.”