71.65 % of retail investors lose their capital when trading CFDs with this provider.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71.65 % of retail investors lose their capital when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

These Chinese indicators affect the price of oil

China is such a big player in the global economy that its macroeconomic indicators can influence not only stock or foreign exchange markets but also commodity markets. So if you are trading oil, you should know what Chinese economic data to look for. And that is exactly what this article will teach you.
Published: 19.04.2023
Since the financial crisis in 2008, China's role as a global player has become increasingly important, it is no surprise then that this country is currently contributing to global economic growth the most. Therefore, every trade that is trying to gain an advantage in the market should be able to monitor the indicators of the Chinese economy.

And we are not referring to China's influence on stock markets or currencies such as the Australian dollar. China's influence is also dominant in commodity markets. So in this article, we will tell you which 6 indicators of the Chinese economy to watch so that you can form a complete picture of future oil price movements.

The economic position of China in the global world

China's economy is one of the fastest-growing economies of the 21st century and currently, the second largest economy in the world, producing a GDP value of USD 20.25 trillion in 2022. The world leader is still the US with a GDP of USD 25.03 trillion.

Figure 1: GDP in 2022 (USD billion), source www.Knoema.com

This, of course, shows the vital role China plays in the global economy. But few people know that China is also one of the world's largest oil producers.

Figure 2: World oil producers

As the world's sixth largest oil producer, China has long been self-sufficient in terms of oil consumption and could even afford to export the commodity. In 1973, China began exporting oil to Japan, and exports rose to 20 million tonnes in 1985. However, since 1993, internal demand for oil has exceeded domestic production and China has since become a net importer of oil. Currently, China is the world's largest oil importer ahead of the US.

The size of the Chinese economy and its oil consumption obviously have a major impact on oil prices. For example, the IEA predicts that China will drive half of the growth in world oil demand this year, and may even force OPEC+ to reconsider production curbs. Also, Wood Mackenzie expects China to account for about 40% of the global oil demand recovery in 2023.

This shows that there are enough reasons to take a closer look at the main Chinese economic indicators that may hint at the further development of the oil price.

Indicator 1: Gross domestic product

The most important indicator to monitor is the gross domestic product, which determines the performance of an economy. In the case of China, the constraints due to the zero-Covid policy have had a strong negative impact on the performance of the economy until recently. This was abolished in China in early December last year, and a wave of deferred purchases from accumulated savings is expected to come in to support the performance of the Chinese economy.

So far, however, data on China's economic performance in early 2023 have been relatively mixed. Therefore, it is expected that government officials could decide on some form of economic stimulus to boost economic growth.

The impact of GDP on the oil price can be seen in the following chart.
Chart 3: WTI crude oil on H1 chart

On Jan. 17, 2023, China reported a GDP of 2.9%, which was better than analysts' expectations. This value was a bullish signal for crude oil and the price continued its uptrend to the nearest resistance level.

Indicator 2: Industrial production

The industrial production indicator shows the change in output produced by industrial enterprises, mining output, and the output of utility companies that maintain infrastructure. This area used to be a big driver of the Chinese economy and also had a major impact on oil demand.

China's industrial production growth in January and February 2023 was up 2.4% year-on-year (versus 1.3% year-on-year growth in December). However, this is still a weak growth rate compared to pre-COVID-19 pandemic trends, as industrial production was growing at around 5% until 2020.

Among the industrial production indicators, we can include a sentiment indicator called the manufacturing PMI, which is the purchasing managers' index for the manufacturing sector. China reports two types of PMI - Caixin Manufacturing PMI and Manufacturing PMI. Manufacturing PMI value. The value of this indicator for March reached 51.9, which indicates the expected expansion of the sector.

We will see how the oil price reacts to the PMI in another example, when on 1 February 2023 China reported a Caixin PMI value of 49.2. A value below 50 indicates an expected decline in economic activity. At the same time, the value was worse than analysts' expectations. Oil's first reaction to the report was neutral, but then oil began to weaken sharply in the afternoon US session.
Chart 4: WTI crude oil on the hourly chart

At the same time, this fundamental complemented the conclusions of the technical analysis, as it can be seen that at that moment oil was in a downtrend, within which a pullback was formed. Entries on the pullback of an ongoing trend are then one of the opportunities where a trade can be made with a favorable risk/reward ratio.

Indicator 3: Balance of payments

In February, China's trade surplus averaged $116 billion per month, the highest since March 2022. A positive balance of payments means that China exports more products and services than it imports. Any decline in this indicator indicates a deteriorating global trading environment. A possible recession in some major economies would certainly imply a drop in global oil demand, and this could lead to a fall in oil prices.


Indicator No 4: Retail sales-retail sales

If China's exports were to decline due to a global economic slowdown as a result of higher interest rates, consumption could be a key driver of the Chinese economy. This is especially so now that the covid measures have been removed.

However, year-on-year retail sales growth has so far remained below expectations, rising only 2.4% y-o-y for February. Prior to the covid, annual retail sales increases were typically above 7%.

It is worth noting here that transport is also part of the post-covid recovery. However, it accounts for only 54% of oil consumption in China, compared with 72% in the US and 68% in the EU.


Indicator No 5: Interest rate - Central Bank policy

China's central bank has kept its key interest rate unchanged at 3.65% since August 2022. It can afford to do so because inflation is very low in China. On a year-on-year basis, inflation was only 0.7% in March 2023

Further, the central bank influences credit demand and therefore consumption by setting the ratio of required reserves that commercial banks must meet. Despite the fact that the central bank has lowered this ratio, thus freeing up room for banks to lend more, this stimulus has not yet had an impact on lending volumes in 2023.


Indicator 6: Policy incentives

China's central authorities play a large role in the Chinese economy. They are expected to provide policy support to ensure economic recovery. For example, the aim may be to create more jobs in cities. It will then depend on the sector in which this happens. Whereas before it was infrastructure and manufacturing, now it could be the service sector that is expected to pull economic growth. But this would have some implications for oil.

Indeed, the shift away from the manufacturing and infrastructure build-up that was behind the commodity supercycle of 2000-2014 in the past to support the services sector may mean that the previous almost automatic translation of China's increased economic growth into higher and longer-term oil prices may not be as pronounced this time as in previous years.

71.65 % of retail investors lose their capital when trading CFDs with this provider.
CFDs are complex instruments and come with a high risk of losing money rapidly due to leverage. 71.65 % of retail investors lose their capital when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you understand how CFDs work and whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.