China will put an end to the sale of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles – gasoline and diesel – becoming the biggest market to do so in a move that will accelerate the push into the electric car market led by companies including the Chinese BYD Co. and BAIC Motor Corp. While many global manufacturers from billionaire Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. to Nissan Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are racing to grab a slice of the electric-vehicle market in China, it is the local manufacturers that have found considerable success thanks to generous government subsidies.
Shanghai Hub: China Moving To The Forefront Of Nuclear Technology
12/07/17 •lweb.es/f2881 •bit.ly/2uL1hmx
China aims to build a world-class nuclear energy innovation hub in Shanghai, planning to become a global nuclear forerunner and establishing itself as a nuclear tech leader, high-end facility manufacturer and exporter. The plan aims to make major breakthroughs conducive to a full industrial upgrading. This will include R&D, manufacturing of fourth-generation reactors and new types of pressurized water reactors; small reactors, marine nuclear power platforms, special nuclear materials; and the construction of high-quality test benches and manufacturing chains. Shanghai has evolved into a major cluster of Chinese nuclear tech companies.
A new agreement between the U.S. and China has the potential to alter global LNG trade, opening the door of the world’s largest LNG growth market to the world’s fastest-growing LNG supplier. Falling under the framework of the U.S.-China Comprehensive Economic Dialogue, Chinese companies can now negotiate long-term contracts to source liquefied natural gas from U.S. suppliers. According to Wood Mackenzie: “The wider agreement represents a win for both sides. It allows President Trump to deliver on his pledge of redressing global trade imbalances and China to show its commitment to becoming an equal trade partner.”
China To Import Record Amounts Of Crude Oil From West Africa
04/06/17 •lweb.es/f2759 •bit.ly/2qfYdIN
West African producers led by Angola and Nigeria are set to send crude to China at the rate of 1.48 million barrels a day in April, the most since Bloomberg began compiling the data in August 2011, according to loading programs and traders. Overall Asian imports of West African crude are poised to reach 2.4 million barrels a day this month, also a record. Asia’s increasing purchases of West African crude provides a valuable source of income for Angola and Nigeria, both of which rely heavily on oil revenues to fund government spending.
The Americas Has The Potential To Become A Global Oil Trading Hub
04/06/17 •lweb.es/f2758 •bit.ly/2oxu3EB
China’s largest crude oil refiner Sinopec aims to ship more cargoes from Brazil, the United States and Canada to help ensure stable crude supplies. Asia, which will account for a third of the world’s refining capacity by 2020 will have to look beyond the traditional markets Middle East and Africa for crude supplies. China will soon import its first Southern Green Canyon and Thunderhorse crude from the United States, and Brazil overtook Venezuela as the top South American crude supplier to China in the first two months of this year.
According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative, major construction at three of China’s large man-made islands in the disputed South China Sea is wrapping up, allowing Beijing to deploy fighter jets and mobile missile launchers to the area at any time. China has continued to militarize the waters as it seeks to reinforce effective control of much of the waterway, through which $5 trillion in trade passes each year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have overlapping claims.
PetroChina’s profit fell 78% to the lowest on record as the oil price crash punished the country’s biggest oil and gas producer for a third year. Net income dropped to 7.86 billion yuan (US$1.1 billion). While PetroChina expects its crude production to fall a second year in 2017, it sees gas sales rising 10% this year and to be its main growth driver to the end of the decade. PetroChina expects its 2017 global crude production to be 879 million barrels, down 4.5%.
China’s Sinopec has agreed to pay almost $1 billion for a 75 percent stake in Chevron’s South African assets and its subsidiary in Botswana, securing its first major refinery on the continent. The assets include a 100,000 barrel-per-day oil refinery in Cape Town, a lubricants plant in Durban as well as 820 petrol stations and other oil storage facilities. They also include 220 convenience stores across South Africa and Botswana. With a growing middle class, demand in South Africa for refined petroleum has increased by nearly 5 percent annually over the past five years.
Meetings have recently been held between Russia and China on energy: one between Gazprom and the State Council of the People’s Republic of China covering the collaboration between Gazprom and Chinese energy companies and financial organizations; and the other between Gazprom and CNPC which looked at the current progress and future prospects for gas deliveries from Russia to China, the possibilities for underground gas storage facilities and gas-fired power generation in China, as well as the use of LNG as a vehicle fuel along the Europe-China international transport route.
China’s production is forecast to fall by as much as 7 percent this year, extending a record decline in 2016. This is about the same size as the recent output cut agreed by OPEC member Iraq. China’s output slumped in 2016 as state-owned firms shut wells at mature fields that had become too costly to operate after the crash. Crude production fell 6.9 percent in the first 11 months of 2016 to about 4 million barrels a day, the first decline since 2009 and the biggest in data going back to 1990.
China’s crude oil demand will grow by 3.4 percent this year to a record of 11.8 million barrels per day, according to a China National Petroleum Corporation forecast. Total refinery throughput will rise by 3.3 percent to 11.2 million bpd, with refiners adding 702,000 bpd of net capacity. This rising refinery demand will lift crude imports by 5.3 percent to 7.95 million bpd. CNPC predicted that net exports of diesel will surge by 55 percent this year to about 450,000 bpd.
As China’s foreign exchange reserves threaten to tumble below the critical $3 trillion mark, there are fears that it will set off a vicious cycle of more outflows and currency depreciation. China has stepped into both its onshore and offshore yuan markets to shore up the yuan, but if forex reserves continue to be depleted at a fast pace and capital flight continues, some strategists believe China may have to sanction another big “one-off” devaluation that could set off competitive currency devaluations by other struggling emerging economies.
A five-year plan, 2016-2020, to save energy and cut emissions was issued by the Chinese State Council, setting a goal to cut energy consumption by 15 percent in 2020 compared with 2015. A carbon emissions trading market will be set up in 2017, and supportive policies will also be pursued, including a pricing mechanism for resources, monetary and tax incentives and financing support; an environmental protection tax will also be levied. Recyclable energy sources will be encouraged, as well as some substitution of coal by gas.
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission are revising the foreign investment industry catalogue. Areas that will be opened up to foreign companies in the services sector include road transportation, credit surveys and ratings; and in the manufacturing sector include rolling stocks, automotive electronics, motorcycles and corn processing. China expects that the foreign companies will pass on their expertise to domestic companies, thus not contradicting the “Made in China 2025” strategy that calls for core technologies to be mastered by domestic industry.
The Chinese economy stabilized during the middle of 2016, but there is disagreement about the country’s growth outlook. Three forces are likely to determine economic trends in 2017: property development, infrastructure spending and manufacturing investment, but they bring with them much uncertainty about the future of economic policy. China’s challenge is not how to support the creation of new industries but how to facilitate the smooth exit of old industries. And this begs the question: will the government have the courage to bankrupt those inefficient and unprofitable zombie State Owned Enterprises?
China has lost the top position as an investment destination to India, and has now opened up more sectors for foreign investors in order to catch up in the race between the two countries. It is offering a slice of tightly controlled segments like public transport and railway equipment to foreign players. But what prompted Beijing to bite the bullet despite resistance from state-owned enterprises is not just slipping numbers of foreign direct investments, but worries about US President-elect Trump using China’s partially closed market as a reason to launch negative trade actions.
According to the director of the Center for Economic Diplomacy, Fudan University, Shanghai, China’s reputation as the world’s factory is increasingly threatened by rising costs, the accelerated manufacturing resurgence in various developed countries and the growing competitiveness of emerging economies. This situation has prompted numerous Chinese manufacturers to move their factories offshore. Manufacturing has long been at the foundation of China’s rise into a global economic power and the country needs to consolidate this manufacturing foundation. Otherwise China will risk hollowing out its real economy before it grows strong enough.
A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting: solar power is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity. At the moment, unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects – a situation that few predicted would happen so soon. A huge part of this story is China which has been rapidly deploying solar and helping other countries finance their own projects.
In 2016 there were more than 260 anti-dumping measures or investigations against Chinese goods. This year’s number represents a roughly 17.7% rise from 2015. The measures were aimed at a wide range of Chinese goods but the main target was Chinese steel products. “All these countries like to blame China for their own problems in the steel industry, but China didn’t create the problems for them, it’s sluggish global demand amid weak economic growth that caused the problem,” said a research fellow at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
One feature of crude oil and products pricing is the tug-of-war between long-term structural drivers and short-term factors, a scenario being played out in Asian fuel markets. Profit margins for both gasoline and diesel traded in Singapore have staged strong rallies in the past three months. The main factor behind this has been a tightening of the market, with seasonal maintenance at refineries across the region. This short-term factor has influenced pricing, and it appears to be outweighing the longer-term structural driver of steadily rising Chinese fuel exports.