China, one of the world’s great growth stories, may become the world’s largest consumer market. As that potential unfolds, petrochemical activity and investment are sure to be key drivers.
China is now the 6th largest economy in the world, boasting a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2.23 trillion in 2005; but measured on a purchasing power parity (PPP) basis, China would rank as the second-largest economy in the world, after the U.S. Per capita GDP of China more than quadrupled since 1978 (when China first opened its door to the outside world).
In 2004, China overtook Japan to become the world’s third largest trading nation, behind the U.S. and Germany. The combined value of China’s imports and exports rose from $20.6 billion in 1978 to $1,422 billion in 2005, growth of 17% per year on average. China’s accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO) in December 2001 resulted in an even more impressive growth in international trade, at more than 30% per year. The country’s international trade (combined value of imports and exports) in 2005 was roughly 64% of its GDP.
China has been a major importer of petrochemical products for many years, and SRI Consulting (SRIC; Menlo Park, Calif.)…