China officially increased tariffs up to 25% on $60 billion of US products from 1st June, following the US decision to increase tariffs on $200bn/year of imports from China to 25% from 10th May. Chinese imports of nearly every US energy commodity now face a tax of up to 25%. Crude is exempt, but China’s imports of US crude have fallen dramatically anyway since the 2nd half of 2018. Despite the trade conflict, US crude exports continue to grow. The loss of trade to China is being offset by higher shipments to other Asia Pacific countries and Europe. Similarly, Chinese crude imports continue to increase, with US barrels being replaced from multiple sources. As such, up until now the impact of US-China trade conflict on the crude tanker market has been very limited, although undoubtedly there would have been stronger long haul VLCC demand, if China had continued buying US crude.
The weekly tanker market report by Gibson Shipbrokers.
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