>> Chinese oil giant Unipec, has suspended imports of crude oil from the United States over a growing trade conflict between Washington and Beijing. That's according to three Reuters sources on Friday. It's not clear how long the temporary hold would last, however, one source said Unipec has no new bookings of US crude until at least October.
Unipec is the trading arm of Chinese state oil major, Sinopec. Sinopec is Asia's largest oil refiner and the biggest buyer of US oil in the region. Chinese oil buyers had already slowed their purchases of American oil to avoid a likely import tariff threatened by Beijing on US imports.
So far, Beijing has put US energy items including crude oil and refined products on lists of goods it would hit with 25% tariffs. Those would be in response to similar moves by Washington. But China hasn't said when the tariffs on oil would go into effect. Unipec said earlier this year it was planning to trade up to 300,000 barrels per day of US crude by the end of 2018, based on a price of $70 per barrel.
That amount would have been worth about $7.7 billion over the whole year. Unipec did not respond to requests for comment on Friday.