By Scott Patterson
Wall Street Journal
December 30, 2008
Oil demand in China may be softer than many expect.
A recent government report showed confidence among Chinese businessmen is waning rapidly. The sentiment index of the Xinhua Finance/MNI business survey, a poll of executives at 152 companies in China released late last week, hit a third consecutive record low in December, dropping to 35.2 from 39.9 in November. A reading of 50 indicates neutral sentiment.
Meanwhile, in November, oil demand in China was down 3.9% from a year ago, based on estimates by Paul Ting, an independent U.S.-based oil analyst and observer of Chinese markets. Mr. Ting wrote in a Monday report that he expects oil demand in December to decline 4.5% from last year to 7.4 million barrels a day, based in part on soft demand from Chinese oil refineries.