Crude oil price topped $83 a barrel today following data showing China’s strong crude imports, which surged by nearly 25% to almost 20 million tonnes last month.

In addition to the weak US dollar, concerns over petrol supplies following a fire at Korea National Oil Corp’s Newfoundland refinery in Canada and cold weather in the northern hemisphere are also contributing to the price rise, reports Reuters.

For February delivery, US crude increased by 65¢ to $83.40 a barrel by 0648 GMT, while London Brent crude rose 63¢ to $82.

According to customs data, China’s crude oil imports in December 2009 leapt above 20 million tonnes, reaching 21.26 million tonnes.