China has accelerated imports of crude oil, propane and liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States since July, but total energy purchases through October remain well below the 2020 targets set in the Phase 1 trade agreement with Washington. Over the first 10 months of 2020, China’s purchases of crude oil, LNG, propane, butane, and other US energy products totaled $ 6.61 billion, about 26% of the $ 25.3 billion goal, according to Reuters calculations based on Chinese customs data.
While the gap to the target is unlikely to be closed by the end of the year, US and Chinese trade officials reaffirmed their commitment to the deal in August, and Chinese imports of US energy products increased significantly in the second half. of the year. The $ 6.61 billion accumulated in October marks a fivefold jump from the $ 1.29 billion accumulated by the end of June.
Imports of propane, a key component of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used as fuel for automobiles, heating and for the production of petrochemicals, have grown at the fastest pace of all major energy products since July.
Strong demand for chemicals from the manufacturing sector fueled the impetus for imports. Demand for LNG is also expected to remain stable over the winter as Beijing continues to replace coal with gas and the country liberalizes its pipeline network.
China’s crude oil imports from the US hit a record high of 12.5 million tons through October, worth $ 3.88 billion, but the pace of US purchases is expected to slow for the rest of 2020 as the main suppliers Saudi Arabia and Russia aim at an increase in flows towards the main oil importer
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