Chinese demand not always what the numbers say

06/26/2006
Everyone knows about China’s new prominence in the global oil market.A 15% surge in Chinese oil demand surprised oil traders and most market analysts in 2004 and helped boost crude prices. While last year’s growth rate, at an estimated 2.4%, was more in line with the world in general, Chinese demand is now second only to that of the US and expected to keep rising as the economy expands.As important as it is, Chinese demand is mysterious. Reliable data don’t exist.The International Energy Agency resorts to proxies for the Chinese demand numbers it publishes in its monthly Oil Market Report (OMR). There, Chinese demand equals refinery output plus net product imports.That f...
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