China has been by far the largest single buyer of US crude so far this year, whilst for LNG it is second only to South Korea.

Some 427,000 b/d of US crude headed for China in May, second only to last October’s record 448,000 b/d. Volumes were also buoyant in June. But they slid in July as Chinese state buyers cut back on purchases under the threat that Beijing was mulling a swingeing 25% tariff on US crude.

The US imposed 25% tariffs on a range of Chinese goods, active from 23...