Sunday, April 09, 2006

Chinese oil consumption flattening?

Now this is encouraging:
At first glance, the official figures of China’s oil consumption in 2005 seem a bit confusing. With a robust economic growth and rising annual oil imports, China made the surprise announcement that its oil consumption growth rate was dropping sharply, from 15.3 percent in 2004 to 2.1 percent in 2005. Earlier, China’s Ministry of Commerce attributed the slower growth to high oil prices, the government’s macro-control and a relatively sufficient electric power supply, but some argue that this phenomenon is a result of tightening oil supplies rather than a decline in the demand for oil.
You have to pity the Chinese middle class to an extent. The want cars - and who are we to tell them no? - but the moment they want them, oil becomes too expensive for them to own cars. Meanwhile, so long as China and India don't want cars, the rest of us get to drive cheap.

We're bastards.


Mark Francis said...

Could this awake the sleeping giant and cause a war? 'No war for cars!'

Seriously, their industry will eventually have problems if supply is trhe problem. This also explains why they've been trying to buy into oil reserves.

I guess the US doesn't like the idea of Iran's oil going to the chinese.

Ronald Brak said...

A lot of Chinese oil consumption was being used for private electrical generation because electrical power generation hadn't kept up with demand. Presumably some of this demand has now been met. Also, instead of fixing petrol prices the government has moved some of the oil price increases onto consumers which has reduced demand.

And as for Chinese citizens wanting to buy cars, if their economy grows at anything like it has over the last 25 years then they will soon be able to aford them, although I expect a great many of these cars will have to be either electric or very fuel efficient.