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China’s record 2018 oil and gas imports may be cresting wave

Singapore - Amid increasing signs of China’s industrial slowdown in 2019, data this week showing record oil and natural gas imports likely indicates a country at peak energy growth, with its thirst set to wane as the slowdown bites

Singapore - Amid increasing signs of China’s industrial slowdown in 2019, data this week showing record oil and natural gas imports likely indicates a country at peak energy growth, with its thirst set to wane as the slowdown bites.

China’s record intake for both crude oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) in 2018 cemented its status as the world’s largest oil and second-largest LNG importer. But heading into this year, China’s trade war with the United States is taking a toll.

On Tuesday, the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, warned that economic pressure will impact the job market. This came only a day after data showed an uptick unemployment and that growth in the world’s second-largest economy cooled to its slowest pace in 28 years in 2018.

Trade war concerns have reduced global growth expectations and with it comes a lower demand of energy,” said Alfonso Esparza, senior market analyst at futures brokerage Oanda. Bank of America Merrill Lynch said this week it expected “a significant slowing in growth” in both China’s economy and energy demand for 2019.

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