CHINA RAMPS UP US OIL PURCHASES AS REVIEW OF TRADE DEAL LOOMS
US crude oil shipments to China will rise sharply in coming weeks, US traders and shipbrokers and Chinese importers said, as the world’s top economies gear up to review a January deal after a prolonged trade war, Devika Khrisna Kumar and Chen Aizhu reported for Reuters on August 15, 2020.
Chinese state-owned oil firms have tentatively booked tankers to carry at least 20 million barrels of US crude for August and September, the people said, moves that may ease US concerns that China’s purchases are trending well short of purchase commitments under the Phase 1 of the trade deal.
China had emerged as a top US crude buyer, taking $5.42 billion worth in 2018 before trade tensions brought flows to a near halt. In January, China pledged to buy $18.5 billion of energy products including crude oil and natural gas over its 2017 level, implying total value of about $25 billion this year.
Its US crude purchases through June 30 amounted to $2.06 billion, according to data from the US Census Bureau, reflecting the COVID-19 pandemic downturn and the limited impact of the Phase 1 deal. However, there has been a recent spike in purchases by China’s state-owned oil and gas firm PetroChina and its largest refiner Sinopec Corp., the people said.