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Mexico's Pemex increases crude exports to U.S., cuts shipments elsewhere

MEXICO CITY, June 27 (Reuters) - Mexico's state-owned oil company Pemex substantially increased crude oil exports to the North American market in May, according to the firm's most recent report, which shows a significant cut in shipments to Europe and Asia.

Pemex said its crude exports averaged 965,000 barrels per day (bpd) in May, and some 740,000 bpd went to "America," which accounts mainly for the United States.

That compares to shipments of 594,000 bpd to the same region in April, out of a total 1.02 million bpd.

Meanwhile, exports to Europe fell to 32,000 bpd in May from 100,000 bpd in April, and dispatches to the Far East fell to 192,000 bpd from 330,000 bpd in April, Pemex said without giving an explanation for the changes.

U.S. refiners last month imported the most heavy crude in nearly two years, customs data showed, as they cranked up motor fuel production and sought to replace sanctioned Russian oil.

Increased imports of heavy crude are common in the northern hemisphere's summer months, but this year's hike comes as Washington asks refiners to raise production and cut profit margins to ease soaring gasoline prices.

Pemex produced an average of 1.67 million bpd of crude in May and has exported an average of 930,000 bpd in the first five months of the year.

Pemex has said it would drastically reduce planned crude exports this year as it works to meet the government's target of refining all of its oil domestically. (Reporting by Ana Isabel Martinez; Writing by Valentine Hilaire; Editing by Marianna Parraga Editing by Alistair Bell)

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