China’s state oil trader Unipec will begin importing shipments of US crude oil by March of next year, now that the threat of higher tariffs has been lowered by the two countries’ trade war ceasefire, sources told Reuters.
Unipec – the trading arm of state refinery Sinopec – halted US oil imports in October at the height of trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.
Before the dispute, China was the largest customer for US crude. China took in an average 325,000 barrels per day for the first nine months of the year before shipments dropped to zero, according to official customs data.
The March 1 deadline is also the end date of the negotiation period agreed at last week’s G20 summit by Presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump.
“Chinese buyers who want to buy US crude will rush to import the oil during this window,” a senior Sinopec executive said. “Oil prices are low, so it makes economic sense to store some crude as commercial inventories.”