Daniel Lacalle

Impact of Chinese slowdown on Oil and Coal Imports

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The big concern, added to Europe, is China slowing down. Global GDP growth figures are being revised (although moderately) at large banks. But the sensitivity analysis on supply and demand is still not there.Here are a few figures worth considering that are obviously considering all other factors unchanged.

At the current estimates (+9.2% GDP growth), China is set to import 5.5mbpd of oil and 178m tons of coal.

If GDP growth falls to +7%, estimates call for a 5.1mbpd of oil and 168m tons of coal.

A fall of 500kbpd of oil demand brings oil demand down from 84.2mbpd to 83.5mbpd. This means that we would still be net consumers of inventory unless Iraqi volumes offset the Lybian barrels lost. This is quite unlikely.

On coal, imports are less sensitive because the decision to import is price driven (ie the arbitrage between domestic coal and international) and at the same timeimport decisions are also based on freight dayrates (and these have been falling quickly in the past two weeks).

I believe it is worth keeping in mind these figures. Obviously, if Chinese GDP growth corrects agressively it will also mean that German exports, and EU growth will slow down. But ven if we move to recession territory in EU, it is difficult to see coal and oil supply-demand balance move to oversupply.


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