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Exclusive: China's Unipec plans to buy U.S. crude oil after Xi-Trump trade war truce

By Meng Meng and Florence Tan

BEIJING/SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Chinese oil trader Unipec plans to resume U.S. crude shipments to China by March after the Xi-Trump deal at the G20 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.


(Reporting by Meng Meng in BEIJING and Florence Tan in SINGAPORE; Additional reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in NEW YORK and Liz Hampton in HOUSTON; Editing by Henning Gloystein and Tom Hogue)