In April this year, China's oil imports of 7.4 million barrels a day, more than the record of the United States 7.2 million barrels a day, a record, as the biggest oil importer.
In fact, a drop in oil prices started the second half of 2014, China took advantage of low crude oil reserves, but its self-sufficiency rate of U.S. oil due to improve the guide of the shale gas revolution, therefore, China overtook the us as the biggest oil importer is not accidental. Moreover, if count the net imports of oil products in China as early as the end of 2013, the first big country, has become the world's oil imports is the fact that China's crude oil imports for the first power for didn't happen overnight, the world's energy supply and demand structure change is the new normal. So, this kind of oil flow large shift means what?
China's role in the structure of energy transformation
First of all, this is a signal that China will rely more on the global system of market-oriented, to meet its growing demand for oil. This increases the necessity of China's integration into the international system to protect their interests, and to encourage the free order further unification, to keep the free market present situation, it is undoubtedly a good news.
Second, China for unstable regions, especially in the Middle East continued and growing energy dependence, lead to China in the coming decades on energy security weaknesses. Although China is trying to achieve the diversification of energy sources, but in the future, all factors of the oil market turmoil will cause more damage than the United States to China. China rising, the price of oil in 2007 once feel panic, and later there will be more such feelings, regional conflicts and the major oil supplier suddenly turmoil is likely to lead to the vibration of the oil industry. Although the Chinese government has been increasing import dependence as strategy, but it also is a chance to promote China's in global leadership.
The factors and the situation in the Middle East
America's oil production is rising, which makes the oil import dependence, which means that the superpower is no longer as before to the Middle East oil. Some experts worry that, when the United States to reduce oil imports from the Middle East after will bring uncertain factors on the stability of the region that China should take to deal with. Despite China's efforts by diverse sources contain the growth of the dependence on middle eastern oil, but China's oil imports continue to increase, in the long run will keep's heavily dependent on oil and gas in the Middle East. As a result, the relationship between will also change, China's influence in the Middle East will also relatively ascension, for example with a major oil producer Saudi Arabia and other diplomatic relations. But even if China did not challenge America's standing in the Middle East, the United States is not willing to see China's growing influence in the Middle East, the strategic competition between China and the United States is difficult to avoid.
In foreign affairs, while the United States is unlikely to change its global oil production, the role of guardian or transportation guarantee, and China now is not enough military force to protect its oil transport channel in the Middle East, also need to rely on the United States military and coordination experience in the region. For this reason, the United States require China to make more contribution to the Middle East issue and play a more important influence. In fact, the increase of oil dependence itself will also encourage China to further integrate into the international community. This means that the Chinese government will promote participation of international affairs, guarantee the global stability, such as multilateral counter-terrorism initiative. The rush to escape from trouble and complete the center of gravity to the east of the United States, may be good news.
The possibility of the oil market pricing in RMB
Oil has been pricing in dollars, not only because the dollar is the world's reserve currency, and the United States has been the largest oil importer also has a lot to do. China's oil imports to surpass the United States, will affect the operation of the global energy market, and to change China's current monetary policy, and foreign behavior.
It is very important to one problem is that the price of oil will turn to the RMB price? Oil can indeed promote the yuan become a truly global currency, for China is also very attractive, but the premise is the yuan fully convertible. HSBC predicted that RMB can realize fully convertible in 2017, China became the biggest oil buyers also have a role. In the near future, the RMB once realize fully convertible, will further improve the utilization rate in global trade, and even become a reserve currency. If China and reduce the control of the exchange rate at the same time, this will create a with the dollar price of a single currency the price of oil.
China surpassed the United States as the world's largest oil importer, for China and the world, is not really important Chinese imports, but the origin of the oil. China needs to seize the new normal, completes the energy diplomacy, otherwise plagued 20 years of China's energy strategy of sorrow will continue.
(more than the author: hao, chongyang, renmin university of China financial institute, associate professor and researcher at king's college London energy center)
As the world's oil importer after the pressure is obvious: in addition to the problem of energy security, China's oil imports than the United States as the world's first, reflecting China's excessive dependence on fossil fuels, and the development of new energy and clean energy such as shale gas greatly behind the United States.
- according to the China economic herald on May 16, professor of international relations at Peking University said regent said.
The world's energy supply pattern has begun to change. This change not only embodies in the center of the energy demand from Europe and the United States to the asia-pacific region, also reflected in the world oil market started from a seller's market into a buyer's market.