EghtesadOnline: Iran's LPG shipments loaded, or due for lifting, in August rose by 84,000 million tons versus July to around 568,000 million tons, the highest since the previous international sanctions for its nuclear program were lifted in January 2016, fixtures from shipping sources showed recently. A majority of the shipments are destined for China, where importers are grappling with higher import tariffs for US LPG in an escalating trade war and are scrambling for Middle Eastern cargoes instead, Global S&P Platts reported.
The jump in Iranian exports also came ahead of the reimposition of sanctions by the US international buyers of Iranian oil on Nov. 4 to wind down contracts in oil, energy, shipping and insurance sectors, a US Treasury Department fact sheet showed. Beijing and Tehran, meanwhile, have agreed to bolster strategic cooperation during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit to China in June.
Yet, some traders remained concerned that if US sanctions resumed in November, Chinese importers might stop taking LPG from Iran and seek even more alternatives from other Middle East sources, which could further drive up cargo prices from that region. This month, Chinese importers had snapped up spot LPG cargoes offered by Middle Eastern producers and have recently resold a number of cargoes that traders said could be of US origin, as China prepared to impose a 25% tariff on US propane and butane imports, which kicked in last Thursday, according to Financial Tribune.