Unified Asian policy can steady world’s volatile energy supply markets

Source:Global Times Published: 2016/6/30 21:38:01

Though Asia is home to some of the world's biggest energy suppliers and consumers, it has little say in the pricing of energy products.

Experts, officials and business leaders from across Asia called for a comprehensive energy cooperation mechanism to achieve greater Asian influence on the global market, at a forum held earlier this week in China's southwestern city of Chongqing.

Asia is capable of becoming a key player on the global energy market with top buyers like China, Japan and South Korea and top sellers like Qatar and Iran, Liu Qiang from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said.

"However, there are energy sellers and buyers but no real market in Asia because a real market involves pricing," Liu said.

Asia needs to build an integrated market throughout the continent as North America and Europe have done, he added. The US West Texas Intermediate and Brent Crude of Europe are major benchmarks of oil prices worldwide.

Global energy prices have seen many and dramatic fluctuations since last year, which indicate the existing energy pricing system is problematic, said Chen Wenling, chief economist of China Center for Economic Exchanges.

Certain countries are manipulating the global energy market, wreaking havoc in countries that rely on energy production for economic growth, she added.

Some major emerging economies are suffering from economic hardship and rapid currency depreciation, as the prices of energy resources are not determined by demand and supply, Chen said.

Asian countries should strive for a more reasonable and efficient energy pricing system. China and its neighboring countries can work to set up a series of mechanisms for energy cooperation and pricing, Chen said.

In the long run, a continental market with China, Russia and India as key stakeholders can be formed to assert Asia's own pricing system and reshape the world energy sector, Ren Zhihong with the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences said.

While it takes time to gain influence on energy prices, Asian countries need to launch and maintain regular cooperation in the energy sector, said Zeng Xingqiu, deputy head of energy research at the Investment Association of China.

Some Asian countries are rich in energy resources but have poor infrastructure, while others have great industrial capacity but lack resources, therefore it is imperative for them to cooperate and bring out each other's potential, Zeng said.

Cooperation must go beyond the energy sector to involve extensive economic, political, security and cultural exchanges to be effective and sustainable, he added.

The article is a commentary from the Xinhua News Agency. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: Voices

blog comments powered by Disqus