BIMCO chief shipping analyst Peter Sand confirms the market rumour – China did not import any US crude oil in August.
Although crude oil imports from the USA were specifically left off the list of US goods and services that would have a new round of tariffs, China did have a point to make.
According to research by Mr Sand, in 2017, Chinese imports accounted for 23% of total US crude oil exports. In 2018 that number was 22% during the first seven months. In August the share fell to 0%.
“For the crude oil tanker shipping industry distances often matter more than volumes. Even though volumes were record high, tonne-mile demand dropped by 19% from July to August due to the shift in trade patterns. Exports to Asia are by far the most important. When measuring the tanker demand in tonnes-miles (TM), exports of US crude oil to Asia generated 70% of TM-demand on that trade in August – down from 78% in June and 75% in July,” said BIMCO chief shipping analyst Peter Sand, who also spoke on CNBC News.
According to BIMCO, Chinese traders have returned to purchasing US crude oil in early October.
Tanker Shipping & Trade comment: Perhaps the Chinese wanted to send a message to the US – you need us more than we need you.
Business, operational and technical issues impacting the crude, product and chemical tanker trades will be discussed in London at the Tanker Shipping & Trade Conference, Awards & Exhibition, 20-21 November 2018.