The volume of crude bound for China has plunged to its lowest level since early May, hinting at faltering demand in contrast to the buying bonanza that took place only a few months ago. The number of supertankers signaling the Asian nation during the next three months fell by 12 this week to 111, ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg show. The decline underscores faltering demand as global infections of Covid-19 rise, and the world braces for a second wave of the virus.

Back in May, Chinese oil demand soared to around pre-coronavirus levels, and more tankers than at any other time raced to the world’s largest crude importing nation to discharge their cargoes. China’s thirst outpaced both Europe and the U.S., and a buying binge buoyed the physical price of crude in Asia and underpinned a rebound in oil.