China falling further behind US trade deal energy targets, even as crude oil imports soar to record volumes



Finbarr Bermingham|South China Morning Post

China imported record volumes of crude oil in May, but despite the terms of the phase one trade deal with the United States requiring it to buy huge volumes of energy products, very few of the bumper shipments are expected to have been American.

Instead, China’s “opportunistic buyers” went on a shopping spree for cut-price oil from the Middle East and Russia to bolster its national reserves, or to just turn a quick profit, even as US oil prices briefly turned negative for the first time in their history, analysts said.

That means that almost halfway through 2020, China is falling further behind the deal’s “overly ambitious” purchasing targets for American energy products, including natural gas and oil, even as it continues to buy record volumes of pork and ratchets up shipments of politically expedient soybeans, crucial if US President Donald Trump is to win the farm state vote in November’s general election.

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