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Spot The Superpower

Tyler Durden's picture


We came across this rather telling chart showing the net petroleum imports of the US and China. We present it on a standalone basis, as  the price of oil, and certainly gas, will once again become a key sticking point in the days and weeks ahead, as always happens whenever there is either global coordinated monetary intervention, or relentless jawboning thereof. To present some context to the chart, which forecasts China overtaking the US and becoming the world's largest net oil importer in the world, the official US GDP number presented for public consumption is just under $16 trillion (or 98% of US debt), while China's is, publicly, less than half this number.


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Fri, 09/07/2012 - 07:57 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



The real superpower.....or the ghost superpower?


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:12 | Link to Comment economics9698
economics9698's picture

China repeated our housing boom.  Things will change.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:19 | Link to Comment Comay Mierda
Comay Mierda's picture

true, but their economy has a strong foundation of production and savings. they will recover much faster than the usa, whose economic foundation is debt and consumption

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:25 | Link to Comment trebuchet
trebuchet's picture

Big overnight News : CHina puts in place MASSIVE public spending program  = 1.7% GDP p.a. 


Not picked up by main news as yet


Even China-bear HSBC seemed to be talking about it being significant

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:30 | Link to Comment EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Something-something 1250 miles of road to nowhere (aka ghost cities), and mass transits for... the very same ghost cities.

What an "awesome" idea that is - putting scarce resources into unproductive ventures.

I think we should start preparing for an alien invasion, as Krugman would have us do.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:39 | Link to Comment Hobbleknee
Hobbleknee's picture

The ghost cities are waiting for the elite to move in just before the planned, mega false flag/crash/collapse disaster.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:48 | Link to Comment Sofa King Confused
Sofa King Confused's picture

To me it looks like China is stockpiling resources in preparation for a coming war.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:18 | Link to Comment Popo
Popo's picture

To me it looks like 2015 will mark the official end of American supremacy.   At least if this graph continues on current vectors.

Although -- to be fair -- gross imports are only part of the story.  The problem with this comparison is that it's not per-capita.   On a per-capita basis, the US is importing 500% more oil than China.   AND the US has better domestic production.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:51 | Link to Comment zaphod
zaphod's picture

It's a good thing the US can print money to buy all that oil.

The chinese have to actually work for the rest of the world for that money.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:57 | Link to Comment hawks5999
hawks5999's picture

...better domestic production.


This is  what I wondered. Did we significantly boost our domestic production in 2006 and I just missed the news?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:01 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Yep, those shales have enable the US to increase oil production to a level last seen in 1942.....

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 12:02 | Link to Comment hawks5999
Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:37 | Link to Comment Fukushima Sam
Fukushima Sam's picture

Or at least hedging for the risk of one...

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:35 | Link to Comment Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Better ghost cities that will eventually be filled than drones, carriers, welfare, bank subsidies, $350 million fighter planes, agricultural subsidies, prisons, etc.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:53 | Link to Comment steve from virginia
steve from virginia's picture


All the above are fetishes, 'fashion accessories' ... none of them are necessary.


Don't worry ... the high real price of petroleum is bankrupting China even as it is doing the same everywhere else in the world.


Evidence: the Chinese fat-cats grabbing their loot and heading for the exits. Ironically, few of them are going to Europe.


They can cross paths with American fat-cats heading in the opposite direction.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:37 | Link to Comment Lucius Corneliu...
Lucius Cornelius Sulla's picture

Under the circumstances, I would rather see a few new Hoover, Grand Coulee and TVA projects than wars and nation building.  These projects continue to have a net positive on our production capacity.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:04 | Link to Comment i_fly_me
i_fly_me's picture

All of it is centrally-planned deficit spending that can have *no* net positive impact.  It is all pandering to one political faction or another at the expense of efficiency.  At best it kicks the can down the road, but makes the inevitable crash-landing way worse than it would be if the government/banking cabal just got the hell out of the way and let necessary market adjustments happen.  That being said, at this point, it matters not. We are pointed straight at the ground and accelerating ... might as well firewall the throttles and see what the other side looks like.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:36 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Being a creditor, means you can do such things.  It takes energy to build or do anything and for that my energy portfolio hopes this is true.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:45 | Link to Comment LeisureSmith
LeisureSmith's picture

Pm's picked it up. BOOM.

Never mind, my speedreading eyes got confused. The Dole-ar is down.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:29 | Link to Comment MillionDollarBonus_
MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

If Mitt Romney gets into power, Oil imports will fall to zero, as he carries out his pledge to reduce America's dependence on foreign oil. 

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:30 | Link to Comment EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Well, after America's collapse, they will need no oil, so I guess in a way you're right.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:53 | Link to Comment Coldsun
Coldsun's picture

I'm pretty sure the collapse is inevitable with the two choices offered. No fiscal restraint whatsoever. Why let the party end for them, right?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:22 | Link to Comment JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

LENR will make oil imports EVERYWHERE crash over the next ten years.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:28 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Wishful thinking.... in spades, with a cherry on top....

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 15:25 | Link to Comment JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

So NASA's Langley research center, the Navy's SPAWAR, MIT, Univ Missouri, the Swedish Royal Physics Society, and more are all a bunch of simpletons fooled by about a dozen physicists and chemists working in competition with each other?

Are you fucking serious?

Nah, you are engaged in mindless pessimism, luddism, and morbid obsession, lol.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 19:13 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture


LENR have been researched for years... what has changed?

Wed, 09/12/2012 - 16:51 | Link to Comment JimBowie1958
JimBowie1958's picture

The repeatability of it has changed for one. Through trial and error (no one has a working proven theory yet) various scientists all over the world have learned how to get COPs as high as 20 using LENR. That means for every Watt of energy put in, you get 20 back.

And it has been happening for years now. The hold up is getting the patents to protect the inventions from theft, and since it is commonly held that 'cold fusion' cant work, some patent offices routinely reject any kind of Cold Fusion out of hand.

That is about to change very quickly.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 19:57 | Link to Comment Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

Oil is used for more than combustion.

Seeing as even finished paper has an oil component there will ALWAYS be a significant demand, so don't give up on your BP/Caltex investments yet.

Just consider that oil is as yet an economically irreplaceable component of lubricants (even the synthetic ones!) obviously, but also pharmaceuticals, plastics, all organic chemicals (precursor products, to, well everything!), pesticides, herbicides, and many, many subdivisions of these.

We'll need a LOT of "Free Energy" to allow cost-effective de novo manufacture of even the simplest hydrocarbons via traditional syntheses, so I'm betting the "price" of oil is going to steadily rise long term.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:31 | Link to Comment AnAnonymous
AnAnonymous's picture

but their economy has a strong foundation of production and savings. they will recover much faster than the usa, whose economic foundation is debt and consumption


That could be sound if production was not consumption and that in 'American' economics savings were not consumption...

The Chinese are more and more attracted to 'American' economics, they can no longer bypass the requirements imposed by 'american' economics.

So they will get more and more into behaviours whose sole purpose is to consume more and more.

Like roads to nowhere...

If they do not do that, then someone else will consume the resources anyway.

This is an 'American' world. No place to run, no place to hide.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:30 | Link to Comment Clever Name
Clever Name's picture

Ah yes, 'America' is so all powerful that even the average Chinese Citizen is utterly powerless under its almighty influence.

Does the Chinese government website have a link to report subversive speech? I'll find it in a minute...

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:23 | Link to Comment SoNH80
SoNH80's picture

Mr. Anonymous, don't be so glum, head west to Lugu Lake, where according to a teevee special, the Mosuo tribal women like to have "lots of sex."  No Americans there.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:43 | Link to Comment AnAnonymouses
AnAnonymouses's picture

Chinamen oily like greased pig in neckbeard rodeo!

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 10:24 | Link to Comment MarsInScorpio
MarsInScorpio's picture



Why do we keep hearing this lie, and why would anyone who knows the reality of China give it a green arrow?


The Chinese economy is one big lie. The numbers are faked to keep the Politburo happy. All you have to do is look at the precipitous fall in electricity, and you know these people are sinking fast. You can only warehouse so much oil and metals; those will be the next to dive to the depths of the ocean.


If the US had the ghost cities and other false GDP boosters that China has, all hell would be breaking loose; but with China, the Chinaholics just ignore that reality and continue their drunken binge.


Can we get a little honesty going here? What if our banks had the massive non-producing "assets" that the Chinese banks have as valid balance sheet entries with these ghost cities? It's not even imaginable that you would ever see that kind of lie (well, maybe not entirely unimaginable, considering what they get away with, but you get the drift.).


And you talk about running up the GDP - sure, just build them and claim they represent some legitimate production utilized by society. How stoned out do you have to be to believe that lie?


And what a worker's paradise we find in China. Samsung just got hit for unconscionable labor practices; which one of you Chinaholics wants to pull down the $206/month minimum wage they have over there? And so these people are working seven days a week, 10 - 12 per day to get overtime. So exactly how many dollars are these people putting away with their "high" savings rate? They aren't putting away didley when you look at actual amounts going into savings.


So keep the drinking the hard stuff; I'm not buying your drunken "China is a powerhouse" mantra.


And just as an aside, I own a computer manufacturing company. The quality of electronic goods made in China is dropping faster than their economy. Motherboards in particular are coming up with 25% - 40% fail rates. All the Chinese want to do is push it out the door to keep the ChiCom leaders happy.


China is totally dependent on the West. Their slave-wages are killing any hope of developing a vibrant, and legitimate internal consumer economy. (That, by the way, is why they steal everything they can with their knock-offs - if you only make $206 a month, what is the likelihood you can shell out $99 for a copy of Windows 7 Home Premium?)


So as the West craters, the Chinese will be brought low as well. They want to bluff that they are independent of the West, which is pure BS. They can keep their dollar and Euro reserves to themselves - and watch their economy fall apart all around them.


If you want to talk about delusional leadership, look no further than the ChiComs - and their rah-rahs, the drunken Chinaholics.



Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:16 | Link to Comment Comay Mierda
Comay Mierda's picture

you're right that all their stats are fudged, all the banks have bullshit assets and roads to nowhere + cities uninhabited.    their govt is as corrupt as they come.  a major correction is coming for them.  my point is, compared to the phony debt-based consumption economy the usa has, the chinese will fare better.  they have more savings and much more production/exports, quality aside.

Sat, 09/08/2012 - 01:40 | Link to Comment LudwigVon
LudwigVon's picture

Poor can save. Free Windows 7 helps huh Mr. computer builder? They are requesting higher wages presently. Meanwhile you seem to think they add more than their wage to society as you apply your own personal, yet modest spending assumptions to the situation. Yes, let's have a minimum wage, where unemployment rules and statists delude themselves daily. How about you go set the wage level Mr. Politburo wanna-be?

You may be right about a lot, but not declining power usage - it is increasing. Saving in gold and silver what they can, and lovin up the knock-off tee's, purses, et al. Yes, imitation produces advancement and innovation for the consumer, yet Mr. Not-so-"I"P Law Computer Builder man says IP advances human society fastest. Sure.

Now I am not saying China won't have their sick years, there will be massive losses in exporters, developers, banking and the unemployment associated with those sectors will be brutal. Combine this with high food costs (even if the PBOC doesn't ease) from the legacy economies for any imported ag needs and their is a tenuous situation. That and all the misallocated labor, and resources in this excessive centrally planned  infrastructure such as the many rail projects (subterranean or otherwise). Private business can do it better.

Yes much of the economy is centrally planned, yet capitalism flourishes there alongside, bolstered by their dual-medium monetary system in preparation for further advancement. Soft landings are not noble, they are more malinvestment... However, The economy is more than export manufacture and construction, and only one of the two is government sponsored, unlike the west with their massive takeovers ongoing in both healthcare and education.

They will continue to import gold en masse to further internationalization of the renminbi per wiki. They will fare relatively better than the wholly insolvent, who has to "revalue" their currency to even begin. 


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:45 | Link to Comment Cole Younger
Cole Younger's picture

It is amazing that our GDP continues to climb eventhough we are producing less and have a higher unemployment number than 5 years ago,,,

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 07:59 | Link to Comment Comay Mierda
Comay Mierda's picture

the real irony is communist china has a more free economy than the USSA

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:05 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



Of course they do.....they have like zero carbon taxes over there.


 I've never owned any carbon.....but I guess I still owe some tax on someone.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:11 | Link to Comment dwayne elizando
dwayne elizando's picture

All life on earth is made of carbon. It's a living tax. Or some shit like that.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:20 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



The doctor pulled me out of the womb and me.


I looked up and said......with what? I'm a freakin baby! I haven't even gone through college yet. He grinned at me and said.......oh that's gonna cost you bigtime sport!


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:27 | Link to Comment dwayne elizando
dwayne elizando's picture

Debt babies! Because crack babies are so 90's!

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:54 | Link to Comment Coldsun
Coldsun's picture

^Win. Nuff said.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:25 | Link to Comment EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture

Filling out paperwork in a massive bureaucracy is the American dream!

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:44 | Link to Comment NoClueSneaker
NoClueSneaker's picture

.... me thinks the irony more obvious in american jails .... USA three times stronger in punishing the ppl . than the commie China. (  Planting the joints for profit obviously an viable business- model )... :-P

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 07:59 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes, yes, get them addicted to oil too, all according to plan.  My energy portfolio thanks you China.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:00 | Link to Comment Arthor Bearing
Arthor Bearing's picture

Measure strength by consumption! 

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:01 | Link to Comment Arthor Bearing
Arthor Bearing's picture

Nevermind that one country has more than four times the number of consumers as the other. Look at this chart!

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:01 | Link to Comment negative rates
negative rates's picture

2 liers don't make either one of them right, I think it makes them more confused about each other than anything.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:01 | Link to Comment LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture



the only reason we are declining is because of alllll those Chevy Volts sales.  Look at the numbers man!!...GM's sales are through the roof! /sarc/

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:10 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



That crap is on fire!


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:05 | Link to Comment JackT
JackT's picture

Kinda reminds me of missile command

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:05 | Link to Comment dwayne elizando
dwayne elizando's picture

The superpower? Is it Liechtenstein?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:28 | Link to Comment LongSoupLine
LongSoupLine's picture



right now, it's Iceland.  Anyone who tells the banks to fuck off is a superpower in my book.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:32 | Link to Comment GetZeeGold
GetZeeGold's picture



I guess it's settled then......fin.....the end.


Walk like an Icelander!


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:29 | Link to Comment Metalredneck
Metalredneck's picture


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:09 | Link to Comment buzzsaw99
buzzsaw99's picture

Reliance on outside energy is a weakness.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:38 | Link to Comment fnord88
fnord88's picture

Because it's smarter to use your own precious resource than swap worthless paper for somebody elses?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:09 | Link to Comment eigenvalue
eigenvalue's picture

If China's economy collapses, will the demand for crude oil continue at the current rate? I doubt it.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:23 | Link to Comment Black Markets
Black Markets's picture

You doubt it??

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:10 | Link to Comment AU5K
AU5K's picture

The bakken shale and eagle ford formation are reducing import needs, so this chart is kind of misleading. 

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:26 | Link to Comment imapopulistnow
imapopulistnow's picture

Cheap energy is the paradigm shift that can put us back into the global competition game.  Too bad Obama is too math deficient to comprehend.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:42 | Link to Comment fnord88
fnord88's picture

Cheap shale? Don't make me laugh. You are right about one thing though, cheap energy is change we need, only it will come from new tech, not old tech. Years not decades before batteries hold more energy/gram than oil. 

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:52 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture


You spend your time just making shit up because it sounds good??

Do you know anything about batteries? Apparently not....

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 10:40 | Link to Comment Citxmech
Citxmech's picture

The battereis that come off my battery tree are not only rechargable, but if I pick them when ripe, they are fully charged.  Yours much be defective.

On another topic.  When the net total of the two lines on that chart surpass the all time high - watch out.  The POO is going to ballistic again.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 20:07 | Link to Comment Parrotile
Parrotile's picture

Right now battery based energy storage is very much a mature technology. It's a pity that a more efficient / durable storage system with similar simplicity of use has yet to evolve. All recent changes have simply been efforts at "tweaking" key parameters (lifespan, available cycle capacity, physical durability) with nothing really "new" on the horizon.

Physics Review has run a lot of articles trumpeting the "beneficial effects" of "new nanotechnology" but where's the end product? After Solyndra who would be willing to stick their neck out in such uncharted waters?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:57 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Demand destruction is dwarfing the gains from the Shales....

Demand is down ~2 mmbpd, while production is up ~0.6 mmbpd....

And there is legitimate debate whether overall US production has increased that much given the discrepancy between EIA and the Texas RRC production figures...

And there is this little tidbit that just came out...

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:11 | Link to Comment proLiberty
proLiberty's picture

This is a false, even specious, comparison.  Twice in my lifetime China has seen over 50 million deaths by a Communist Party determined to gain and retain power.  It is only a matter of time before the Marxist cycle of death is cranked up again.  China's society is far more brittle that any other large economy.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:34 | Link to Comment LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Correct, and those who ignore history are going to be dead, but then again how many times his history been re-written for the sheeple in China by the state-controlled media.

I wonder how different the mass genocides would have gone in China if they had a "2nd amendment"?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:11 | Link to Comment jjsilver
jjsilver's picture

Superpower: Zionist Rothschild Banking empire

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:42 | Link to Comment Bartanist
Bartanist's picture

All economies and all wars are run by them and for them.

The only question is whether they are in fact the top of the pyramid of they are themselves empowered and directed by invisible forces.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:12 | Link to Comment ThisTimeIsDifferent
ThisTimeIsDifferent's picture

"Spot The Superpower"


-> Spot the looser of the next embargo.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:13 | Link to Comment BigInJapan
BigInJapan's picture

The Chinese are the ultimate packrats.

They're poking away everything they can before the great collapse.


Fri, 09/07/2012 - 08:27 | Link to Comment EscapeKey
EscapeKey's picture


They have to do a pretty outstanding job to better Corzine's $1bn impunitive grand larceny.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:16 | Link to Comment BigInJapan
BigInJapan's picture

You reckon they'd have to, do ya? $1bn?

Segue much?

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:19 | Link to Comment SoundMoney45
SoundMoney45's picture

The looting methods are different, however the sizes are likely equal percentages of GDP.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:25 | Link to Comment Bahamas
Bahamas's picture

My friend, who does business with China, told me that when he goes there, his business partners always bring along some very hot chicks...and this is from a guy who's used to high quality pussy; These ladies are very much unlike the ugly, pimply, round fat faces with irregular legs they export to do cheap labor abroad.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:47 | Link to Comment Clever Name
Clever Name's picture

I found it interesting that last night our dear leader said "We have reduced our oil imports by 1mb", as if he had accomplished something, and the crowd went wild.

Finally, a president whos serious about energy independence! Pfft.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:30 | Link to Comment I am a Man I am...
I am a Man I am Forty's picture

Would like to know the impact of the increase in domestic oil production such as the Bakken plays into all of this.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:42 | Link to Comment EmileLargo
EmileLargo's picture

US shale oil production also plays a part in that chart - as does the NINJA generation.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:56 | Link to Comment falak pema
falak pema's picture

the superpower is Qatar. Small is beautiful. If you own a piece of Al Jazeera you will be king of the world.

"I was the man who made the north field into north star. So I should know."

Thats what it will say on the tombstone of the unknown builder of the superpower's super black/blue goldmine; supercherie of the new century.  

I was there and I shook his hand. But who will remember such a trivial anecdote when they go bow to the tallest building in the universe. 

Is Qatar the Next Dubai? -

Ezdan studying plans for tallest tower in the world - SkyscraperCity

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 09:59 | Link to Comment onebir
onebir's picture

Oil imports = supremacy???

What about beafsteak consumption?

One of the more pointless ZH articles to date...

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 19:23 | Link to Comment Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

I do not know about "supremacy", but being top dog in oil imports says a lot about an economy's ability to leverage that external cost into economic activity....

Go have a another steak and think about it some more....

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:15 | Link to Comment Bartanist
Bartanist's picture

In my view a country's health can be measured in "value creation" and certainly not in money creation (Fed), labor arbitrage (Apple) or in financialization of balance sheets, alla the banking system.

Oil imports may be a consequent indicator since value creation is hard to measure accurately.

Fri, 09/07/2012 - 11:02 | Link to Comment printmoremoney
printmoremoney's picture


Whoever burns the most oil, has the most War Toys, and can afford to pay for war. That is a Super Power on this Ponzi Planet.

Welcome China please and get ready to bow nicely.

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