As the trade war between China and the US escalates, fewer vessels carrying US liquefied natural gas (LNG) have arrived in China over the past two months.
China, which purchased 14 percent of all US LNG shipped between February 2016 and April 2018, has taken delivery from just one vessel that left the US in May and none in June compared with 14 during the first four months of the year.
However, there are a number of reasons for the slowdown, including seasonal factors and rising Australian LNG production. An anonymous LNG official with a Chinese State-run energy giant said that the decline was seasonal.
To be sure, one vessel that left the US earlier in July is on its way to China. There are three other tankers in the Pacific that left the US in June or July without a destination listed; they could still end up in China.
As the trade war between the two nations heated up, China threatened in June to put levies on US energy exports, though it did not include LNG in that mix.