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Market Movers Asia, Dec 17-21: Trade flow between the US and China resumes

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Ver: Market Movers Asia, Dec 17-21: Trade flow between the US and China resumes

Market participants are expecting detailed guidelines from Beijing as trade flow between the US and China resume this week after months of tension. Beijing announced on December 14 the temporary removal of the 25% additional tariff on US automobiles and related accessories for three months, from January 1. More similar announcements are expected to come in this week, including tariff arrangements for US agriculture and energy products.

While guidelines are being set, Chinese buyers have started to purchase US soybeans. Market players anticipate that another 1.5 to 2 milllion tons of cargoes could be shipped as soon as this week. The cargoes are expected to be stored as national reserve.

Meanwhile, market participants are keeping an eye on ultra-light crude price differentials with the comeback of China's Fuhaichuang Petroleum and Petrochemical to the market. The company, formerly known as Dragon Aromatics, restarted its expanded 5 million mt/year condensate splitter on December 10.

In LNG, market participants say a price support could finally emerge after weeks of persistent declines, as winter temperatures drop and some end-user demand emerge. However, Chinese spot demand remains uncertain due to high tank storage levels.

And in coal, the seaborne market continues to wait for a clear signal from Chinese port authorities about the potential lifting of import restrictions for cargoes arriving in January.