China: Thousands of Truck Drivers Riot in Shanghai Over Fuel Prices  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Cryptogon points to some recent reports about unrest in China over fuel prices - China: Thousands of Truck Drivers Riot in Shanghai Over Fuel Prices.

ZeroHedge is right:
China is now between a rock and a hard place: will it continue happily importing Bernanke’s inflation exports or finally retaliate. Unfortunately for its economy, the appropriately called “nuclear option” of revaluation, will leave it export economy flailing. So the real question: is China ready to migrate from an export-led to a consumer-led model. Alas, the answer is a resounding no.

Via: Reuters:
A two-day strike over rising fuel prices turned violent in Shanghai on Thursday as thousands of truck drivers clashed with police, drivers said, in the latest example of simmering discontent over inflation.

About 2,000 truck drivers battled baton-wielding police at an intersection near Waigaoqiao port, Shanghai’s biggest, two drivers who were at the protest told Reuters.

Kevin also notes China is restricting exports of refined fuel - China Halts Fuel Exports to Ensure Domestic Supply.
Some context is necessary on this story.

China is a huge net oil importer. This is from the U.S. Department of Energy:
China’s net oil imports reached about 4.3 million bbl/d in 2009, making it the second-largest net oil importer in the world behind the United States and for the first time surpassing Japan’s imports.

Conversely, China, “Only exports limited amounts of gasoline and high-sulfur diesel to Vietnam and Indonesia.”

In other words, the geopolitical foreshadowing of this is far more significant than any immediate shortages that may result.

Via: Bloomberg:
China Petrochemical Corp., Asia’s biggest oil refiner, halted fuel exports to ensure domestic supply as high crude costs and retail price caps cause private refiners to cut back on production.

Sinopec Group, as the company is known, “stopped exporting to other regions apart from sustaining the basic resource needs of Hong Kong and Macau,” it said in its online newsletter today. The Beijing-based company will run its refineries at full capacity and cut petrochemical production to boost output of gasoline and diesel for domestic use, it said.

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