Research Discussion Paper – RDP2010-08 Sources of Chinese Demand for Resource Commodities Abstract
RDP2010-08 – November 2010
Is China's demand for resources driven predominantly by domestic factors or by global demand for its exports? The answer to this question is important for many resource-exporting countries, such as Australia, Brazil, Canada and India. This paper provides evidence that China's (mainly manufacturing) exports have been a significant driver of its demand for resource commodities over recent decades. First, it employs input-output tables to demonstrate that, historically, manufacturing has been at least as important as construction as a driver of China's demand for resource-intensive metal products. Second, it shows that global trade in non-oil resource commodities can be described by the gravity model of trade. Using this model it is found that, controlling for domestic expenditure (including investment), exports are a sizeable and significant determinant of a country's resource imports, and that this has been true for China as well as for other countries.