Saturday, July 08, 2006

Global Energy Demand and China

An interesting story in the New York Times magazine last weekend, regarding the growth in China of the car culture. It points to a growth like that in the early car years of America:
  • Total miles of highway, now some 23,000, more than doubling what existed just six years ago;
  • Year over year growth of car sales of 54%;
  • Passenger cars on the road, now 20 million, compared to about 6 million in 2000;
  • Government announced target of 56,000 miles of freeway by 2035 (the US has 46,000 miles of interstate highways);
  • and by 2030 carbon dioxide emissions are projected to exceed those of the US.

Anyone who thinks that the demand for global fossil fuels will abate anytime soon, should also consider that the average American uses about 25 barrels of oil annually, versus 1.8 barrels in China and 0.8 in India. Those latter two figures are obviously going to move upwards at a rapid rate, considering those countries recent growth rates in the 7-10% range annually and the apparent embedding of the car culture in China particularly.

Which of course provides a long tailwind to investing in the fossil fuel industry.


The Confused Capitalist


Anonymous said...

Welcome back from vacation. Hope it was refreshing. Any ideas on how to lower the volatility of energy holdings? I keep getting stopped out of what I have bought (etf's) long because of the wild swings in the market. Tom in Indy

Jay Walker said...

Thanks Tom,

I suppose you might be able to lower your overall volatility with puts and calls and that sort of thing, but I'm not that familiar with these sorts of strategies.

You might wander over to Random Roger's blog and pose the question to him.

To some extent however, commodities are going to be subject to higher volatility, just like investing in emerging markets.

Hope this helps a bit ...