China’s tariff on US crude imports has prompted speculation over potential VLCC diversions even as its impact on overall tanker demand is expected to be muted.

In the latest escalation of the trade war between the world’s two largest economies, Beijing has announced that a 5% import duty will be imposed on US crude from 1 September.

Market participants expect the move to disrupt the US-China crude trade, which was showing signs of recovery in recent months.