Journal publications

The evolution of Malcolm Fraser's China policy

December

This article explores the evolution of Malcolm Fraser's views on China. While Gough Whitlam is fondly remembered as a trailblazer for normalising Australia‐China relations, Fraser was a pioneer in rendering a sense of bipartisanship in Australia's China policy. Fraser was not initially a Sino‐enthusiast, however. He came from a background of staunch anti‐Communism and throughout the 1950s and 1960s believed that China posed a major threat to stability in the Asia Pacific.

The prospect for an Australian-Asian power grid: A critical appraisal

December

Australia is an energy net self-sufficient country rich in energy resources, from fossil-based to renewable energy. Australia, a huge continent with low population density, has witnessed impressive reduction in energy consumption in various sectors of activity in recent years. Currently, coal and natural gas are two of Australia’s major export earners, yet its abundant renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, and tidal are still underutilised.

Unintended consequences of China’s coal capacity cut policy

December

In early 2016, China introduced additional capacity cut policies to rebalance supply in the coal market to match demand that had been reduced by slow economic growth and strict environmental regulation. Ensuing disruptions to the coal market caused these policies to be revised and, subsequently, discarded as decision makers tried to find a balance between efficient supply, economic and social stability and environmental sustainability. This paper explores the causes of these unintended consequences using an extended version of the KEM-China model.

Oil indexation, market fundamentals, and natural gas prices: An investigation of the Asian premium in natural gas trade

December

A heated debate has arisen over whether the Asian premium (i.e. higher prices in Asia than elsewhere) in natural gas trade is due to price discrimination or different market fundamentals. Determining the origin of this premium can help to guide the gas industries and policy makers in Asia, especially when the traditional oil-indexed price mechanism fades away. Using a new systemic time-series approach, this paper explores the extent to which oil prices and market fundamentals contribute to variations in gas prices in Japan, the United States, and Germany.

China's debt challenge: Stylised facts, drivers and policy implications

December

This paper begins by showing that even after conditioning for factors that might justifiably lead to a country having relatively high leverage, China remains a debt outlier. In this sense, China can be regarded as over-leveraged and its debt levels may present potential risks to growth and financial stability. The corporate sector is central to China’s debt story, accounting for two-thirds of the total. Moreover, the corporate sector has been mostly responsible for China’s leverage cycles, including the leveraging up since 2008 and an earlier deleveraging phase starting in 2003.

Experiences of developing European gas trading hubs and their implications for China

December

Making efforts to establish Chinese natural gas prices, China has built up two gas exchanges while opening its gas markets step by step. In view of this, this paper first studies and summarises the successful experiences of developing European gas trading hubs in the following aspects: 1. necessary conditions like market liberalization, competitive market, non-discriminatory third-party access to pipeline, regulations and reforms on the dominant market players, etc.; 2. natural conditions like domestic production, trade traditions, diversified supply, market surplus, etc.; and 3.

Economic, social and environmental impacts of fuel subsidies: A revisit of Malaysia

December

Subsidising energy has been widely used but is economically unfavourable. The Malaysian government has shown strong intention to reduce energy subsidies recently, but faces challenges to prepare policy instruments to manage the impact. This study develops a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model with breakdown of households by income level to evaluate the potential impacts of removing energy subsidies on the Malaysian economy. It is shown that removing petroleum and gas subsidy would improve economic efficiency and increase GDP up to 0.65%.

Issues in formulating natural gas benchmark prices in China

December

The oil indexed pricing mechanisms for natural gas and LNG in Asian markets, although successful until the 1990s, are general considered to be no longer appropriate, with a weak relationship between oil and gas market fundamentals. Since the current oil-indexed pricing system fails to reflect the natural gas market fundamentals, several East Asian countries including China are considering formulating their own natural gas benchmark prices.

Economics and freedom of navigation in East Asia

December

Public calls for a more aggressive regional response to China’s pressing of its territorial claims in the South China Sea are typically couched in terms of the threat posed to freedom of navigation. Yet this invites an obvious question: If freedom of navigation, a vital interest for nearly every country in the region, is at risk, why has the regional response to China’s actions to date been so limited? This article argues that one compelling explanation lies in the economics of freedom of navigation in East Asia.

East Asia’s gas-market failure and distinctive economics: A case study of low oil prices

December

This paper proposes that the gas economics in East Asia (including Southeast Asia and Northeast Asia) is different from standard economics due to its exogenous oil-indexed pricing and certain region-specific and industry-specific factors. Based on a hypothesis of distinctive economics, this paper proposes an analytical framework that studies East Asian gas markets. This paper demonstrates this framework through a case study of the effects of a low oil prices.