The risk of declining Chinese demand for oil is worrying Middle East officials more than Iran's supply curbs as a result of U.S. sanctions.
Bahrain and Oman's oil and gas ministers both told CNBC Monday that China's demand for oil could decline on the back of its trade dispute with the U.S. that has seen tariffs imposed on a wide range of Chinese imports.
"I think there is a risk on the demand side," Bahrain's Oil Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Khalifa told CNBC's Hadley Gamble in Muscat, Oman. "Is demand going to continue as strongly as it did?"
"Obviously the trade issue is going to impact demand in a negative fashion if it continues and persists. You've got the strong dollar, which is another factor."
Oil prices have stabilized over the last two years largely thanks to a deal between OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers, including Bahrain and Oman, to curb oil output. The deal has worked with prices now between $70 and $80 a barrel.
However, the deal has come under fire from President Donald Trump, who said in July that higher oil prices are hitting consumers too hard. OPEC and Russia, the world's largest producers, promised to boost supply a few days afterwards.
Nonetheless, Trump's decision-making is affecting oil market stability too. His decision to re-impose sanctions on major OPEC oil producer Iran (with the restrictions due to kick in in November) could push prices even higher as Iran's contribution to global oil supply is restricted.
But Trump's attack on cheap Chinese imports, and his decision to impose trade tariffs on a wide range of Chinese goods entering the U.S., could damage China's economic growth and in turn lower its demand for oil.
Oman's oil minister, also speaking to CNBC, said not enough attention was being paid to how trade tensions could damage China's demand for oil.