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Trade tensions put spotlight on US cargoes bound for China

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As the US-China trade war escalates, speculation is swirling over whether the Asian nation will honour purchases of American products including soybeans and cotton that are yet to be delivered.

[WASHINGTON] As the US-China trade war escalates, speculation is swirling over whether the Asian nation will honour purchases of American products including soybeans and cotton that are yet to be delivered.

At least 10 bulk carrier cargoes are in transit, while at least one vessel managed to offload its US cargo on the weekend as tensions between Washington and Beijing flared.

Bulk carrier Fiji arrived in Dalian Sunday, waiting a week before congestion cleared to enter port. The cargo originated from Export Grain Terminal Longview in the Pacific Northwest with 67,113 tonnes of soybeans, according to US Department of Agriculture and IHS shipping data analysed by Bloomberg.

China has bought about 7.4 million tonnes of US soybeans that haven't been shipped yet, USDA data show.

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Market voices on:

"The shipments of the sales on the books have been slow-walked recently," said St Louis-based independent analyst Ken Morrison.

"The risk of possible cancellations just got higher."

There is similar anxiety for US cotton orders.

"What we've sold to them, people are concerned they are not going to take that," said Jody Campiche, vice-president of economics and policy analysis for the National Cotton Council of America.

In the energy sector, a tanker of liquefied natural gas - which has also been targeted with tariffs - is also en route. The Iberica Knutsen left Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal April 10 and is now headed for Taizhou, according to Genscape data.

Supertanker Alsace is also steaming for China's northeastern port of Qingdao, after loading up US crude oil in the Caribbean. The ship received part of its West Texas Intermediate crude cargo while in the US Virgin Islands and more off of Aruba. The tanker, which is carrying about 2 million barrels of oil, is set to reach its final destination May 21.

BLOOMBERG