Managing COVID-19: China, OPEC and the energy markets

Managing COVID-19: China, OPEC and the energy markets

The coronavirus epidemic has put Asian oil and gas demand growth back in the spotlight – this time as a spoiler not the savior it has been in the last three decades.  That period had its scares – the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 and the global financial crisis of 2008-09 – but Asian demand could generally be relied upon to buoy growth and bounce back quickly after crises. In the wake of COVID-19, forecasts of an economic rebound in China by mid-year may be correct, but certain structural factors could alter the longer-term trajectory of demand growth. For OPEC and the oil markets, the conditions make for an uncertain 2020.

China’s role in Middle East oil and gas

China’s role in Middle East oil and gas

The specter of Chinese geopolitical power rising in the Middle East has raised concerns in the West that as the power and influence of the US – and to some extent its European partners – wanes, China will exercise more influence and control over the oil and gas sectors of the region. Undoubtedly, China’s rise as an economic superpower has earned it a place at the regional table. However, as far as oil and gas is concerned the system of control exercised by Middle East governments is not about to change, while China’s involvement in the region continues to be driven by energy security concerns – not hegemonic ambition.

US trade turmoil: Five impacts on the Middle East and North Africa

US trade turmoil: Five impacts on the Middle East and North Africa

Rising US tariffs on China and the EU will have indirect impacts on economies in the MENA region over the coming years. These will include stronger energy demand from China, lower global energy and food prices, weaker manufacturing exports to the EU and potentially slower growth in China’s infrastructure investment in the region.