The spiraling tensions between the United States and China have rocked the crude market, reinforcing concerns that global demand growth might turn even weaker than feared. Market analysts have been quick to calculate that slapping a 5-percent tariff on US exports would imply a $3 per barrel additional cost to American barrels, rendering them economically inexpedient. The ongoing trade row hit global benchmark Brent much weaker than it did WTI, as the imposition of crude tariffs presumes Chinese demand growth for non-US barrels that are overwhelmingly priced against Brent.
Strong refinery runs in the US and a bigger-than-expected drawdown of US crude inventories has put new steam into the market, with crude prices bouncing back to growth by the middle of this week. Minor successes notwithstanding, the focus is still on the US-China trade war although it seems it would be unwise to expect any palpable resolution in the foreseeable future. Global crude benchmark Brent traded at $60-60.3 per barrel on Wednesday afternoon, whilst WTI was assessed at $56.2-56,4 per barrel.
1. Malaysia Becomes China’s Blending Spot
- Reuters has reported on a rather odd jump in China’s crude imports from Malaysia in July 2019, despite the latter’s declining production and the appreciation of the benchmark Tapis crude against its peers.
- It is estimated that as much as 500 000 metric tons, i.e. more than a third, of the putatively Malaysian…