FT.com / World

another article on China’s increasing dependency on foreign oil

» FT.com / World: “China’s fast-growing economy has overtaken Japan to become the world’s second largest consumer of crude oil after the US, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Chinese government.”

The latest figures underline China’s thirst for natural resources to fuel its industrial revolution. Yesterday, China reported economic growth of 9.9 per cent for the fourth quarter of 2003, taking full year growth to 9.1 per cent.

They also confirm that the economy – to the dismay of the ruling Communist party – is becoming ever more dependent on energy imports, mainly from the Middle East.

Chinese customs figures show the country imported a record 91m tonnes of crude oil last year, up 31 per cent from 2002. It also exports oil and refined products, but by 2030 China’s net oil imports are expected to reach 10m b/d and meet more than 80 per cent of its demand, compared with 35 per cent in 2000. Just over a decade ago, China was a net exporter of oil.

Chinese demand has boosted oil tanker rates to near record levels on the Middle East to China route. Rates have tripled since October, and now exceed tanker rates from the Middle East to the US by 20 per cent.

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