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Horizons podcast: The Great Reopening

What the end of China’s zero-Covid strategy means for global energy and natural resources

1 minute read

The Great Reopening

What the end of China’s zero-Covid strategy means for global energy and natural resources

As Covid-19 restrictions lifted around the world and countries stopped reporting on case numbers, the events of 2020 and 2021 faded further into our collective memory. Against the threat of looming recession and a war in Europe, it was easy to forget the turmoil brought on by the pandemic. Then, in January 2023, China announced it was reopening its borders and abandoning quarantine measures. After 3 years, in which the entire population was locked down without regard for cost or consequence, China was open for business. It's ‘zero-Covid’ policy hit its economy hard. GDP in 2022 slumped to its lowest growth rate in almost half a century. Energy demand was affected as a result: LNG imports slumped 20% year-on-year, as did oil consumption.  

At the opening of the National People’s Congress in early March, outgoing Premier Li Keqiang announced a growth target of around 5% for 2023. Will China’s reconnection with the global economy provide enough of a boost in trade and investment? Under Wood Mackenzie’s base-case scenario, we now expect China’s economy to grow 5.5% this year.  

On the podcast today, we look at the possible pathways to growth for the Chinese economy, and the impact of its reopening on energy supply, markets and prices.  

Joining Liz Dennett are Alan Gelder and Massimo Di-Odoardo. Alan is Vice President of Refining, Chemicals and Oil Markets at Wood Mackenzie. Massimo is Vice President of Global Gas and LNG Research at Wood Mackenzie.  

Find out more and read the full Horizons report here