“Chinese buyers, led by the world’s top tanker charterer Unipec were rumoured to have stayed away – and new data proves it,” BIMCO said.
Even though crude oil was left out from the recent wave of tit-for-tat tariffs between the duo, the country’s seaborne exports of crude oil to China dropped to zero in August.
In 2017, Chinese imports accounted to 23% of total US crude oil exports. In 2018, that number was 22% during the first seven months.
The tanker shipping industry is hurt when distant US crude oil export destinations like China, are swapped for much shorter hauls into the Caribbean and South, North and Central America.
US crude oil exports to any other destination were record high, BIMCO’s data shows. Total US crude oil exports excluding china hit a new all-time high in September at 6.96 million tonnes.
Exports to Asia jumped in June and July, from a 43% share of total exports since the start of 2017 to reach a 56% share. In August that share fell back to 46%.
The two other major importing regions are Europe (26%) and North and Central America (18%), while South America (5%), Caribbean (2%) and Others (4%) make up the rest.
For the crude oil tanker shipping industry distances often matter more than volumes.