China plans to buy US crude oil now that Trump and Xi have agreed to hit pause on the trade war

  • China's crude oil imports from the United States ground to a halt this year as a trade war between the two countries escalated.
  • But the tariff ceasefire that both countries agreed to over the weekend has opened the window for China to import American crude oil.
  • U.S. crude oil has to arrive in China by March 1, when the 90-day period comes to an end.
The flags of the U.S. and China.
Holger Gogolin | iStock | Getty Images
The flags of the U.S. and China.

Chinese oil trader Unipec plans to resume U.S. crude shipments to China by March after the Xi-Trump deal at the G-20 meeting reduced the risk of tariffs being imposed on these imports, sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Three sources with knowledge of the matter said Unipec is looking to import U.S. oil by March 1, when the 90-day negotiating period agreed by the leaders of the world's two biggest economies comes to an end.

China's crude oil imports from the United States ground to a halt as a trade war between the two countries escalated this year.

"Chinese buyers who want to buy U.S. crude will rush to import the oil during this window," a senior executive from Asia's largest refiner Sinopec said, adding that the oil has to arrive in China before March 1.

"Oil prices are low, so it makes economic sense to store some crude as commercial inventories," said the executive, who asked not to be named.

Unipec and Sinopec were not immediately available for comment. Unipec is the trading arm of Sinopec.