BEIJING (Bloomberg) - China made an unprecedented intervention in the global oil market, releasing crude from its strategic reserve for the first time with the explicit aim of lowering prices.
The announcement comes amid surging energy costs in China, not just for oil but also for coal and natural gas, and electricity shortages in some provinces that have forced some factories to cut production. Inflation is rapidly rising too, a political headache for Beijing.
In a late statement on Thursday, the National Food and Strategic Reserves Administration said the country had tapped its giant oil reserves to “to ease the pressure of rising raw material prices.” It didn’t offer further details, but people familiar with the matter said the statement referred to millions of barrels the government offered in mid-July.
The Chinese stockpiling agency also said a “normalized” rotation of crude oil in the state reserves is “an important way for the reserves to play its role in balancing the market”, indicating that it may continue to release barrels.