Jonathan Fenby

Managing Director, China Research
+44 20 3137 7261

About China Blog

Jonathan is a co-founder of Trusted Sources. He has a wealth of experience as a writer and commentator on Chinese political, economic and social affairs. He was formerly editor of The South China Morning Post, The Observer and Reuters World Service as well as a senior correspondent for The Economist.

How can we help?

To learn more about our services get in touch on +44 20 7183 5280 or sales1@trustedsources.co.uk.

Featured China research

China Reform Watch: Anti-corruption campaign widens to SOEs China Reform Watch: Anti-corruption campaign widens to SOEs, Jonathan Fenby, 20 Nov 2014

Recent China research

* China Monitor: Xi commits to reform with contradictions, Jonathan Fenby, 25 Feb 2015
* China Monitor: Brewing discontent in China’s beer sector, Fergus Naughton, 20 Feb 2015
* Low oil price offers big energy opportunity to Asia, Stephen O'Sullivan, 13 Feb 2015

See all our China research >>

Previous blog posts

Chinese gas prices could rise more slowly than expected Chinese gas prices could rise more slowly than expected, Stephen O'Sullivan, 21 Jan 2015
Update on Xi Jinping and China data Update on Xi Jinping and China data, Jonathan Fenby, 14 Jan 2015
China’s anti-corruption drive gets even bigger China’s anti-corruption drive gets even bigger, Jonathan Fenby, 13 Jan 2015
China’s Third Shale gas Auction – Not When But If? China’s Third Shale gas Auction – Not When But If?, Stephen O'Sullivan, 6 Jan 2015
China puts a toe in Afghanistan – but nothing more China puts a toe in Afghanistan – but nothing more, Jonathan Fenby, 5 Jan 2015
China and Russia – now for the skies China and Russia – now for the skies, Jonathan Fenby, 15 Dec 2014
Sinopec increases investment in its Fuling shale gas field – on track to reach 2015 output target Sinopec increases investment in its Fuling shale gas field – on track to reach 2015 output target, Stephen O'Sullivan, 12 Dec 2014
Small rate cut, debt reform - and Shanghai soars Small rate cut, debt reform - and Shanghai soars, Jonathan Fenby, 5 Dec 2014
China Energy Strategy to 2020 released: interesting and positive for the gas and power sector but let’s wait and see what actually makes it into the more important Five-Year Plan due out next year China Energy Strategy to 2020 released: interesting and positive for the gas and power sector but let’s wait and see what actually makes it into the more important Five-Year Plan due out next year, Stephen O'Sullivan, 3 Dec 2014
China plans to export pollution amid new seriousness about environment China plans to export pollution amid new seriousness about environment, Jonathan Fenby, 28 Nov 2014
Declining oil prices could prompt a rethink on US export volumes to Asia Declining oil prices could prompt a rethink on US export volumes to Asia, Stephen O'Sullivan, 25 Nov 2014
China and Russia tighten their embrace China and Russia tighten their embrace, Jonathan Fenby, 19 Nov 2014
One small step for (gas)man in China One small step for (gas)man in China, Stephen O'Sullivan, 18 Nov 2014
China’s Coal Bed Methane search goes west China’s Coal Bed Methane search goes west, Stephen O'Sullivan, 11 Nov 2014
Hong Kong: The Taiwan effect Hong Kong: The Taiwan effect, Jonathan Fenby, 6 Nov 2014
CNOOC looks for foreign partners to develop its first shale gas block CNOOC looks for foreign partners to develop its first shale gas block, Stephen O'Sullivan, 6 Nov 2014
Downgrade of China shale gas targets poses questions for project financing Downgrade of China shale gas targets poses questions for project financing, Stephen O'Sullivan, 29 Oct 2014
China’s economy: managing the slowdown and balancing risks China’s economy: managing the slowdown and balancing risks, Jonathan Fenby, 21 Oct 2014
Hong Kong confrontation puts down deep roots Hong Kong confrontation puts down deep roots, Jonathan Fenby, 6 Oct 2014
What Chinese government subsidies say about reform ’ What Chinese government subsidies say about reform ’, Jonathan Fenby, 30 Sep 2014
Xinjiang escalation continues as academic is jailed for life Xinjiang escalation continues as academic is jailed for life, Jonathan Fenby, 30 Sep 2014
China steps in as Russia’s friend in need China steps in as Russia’s friend in need, Jonathan Fenby, Stephen O'Sullivan, Christopher Granville, 2 Sep 2014
The wages of graft: how the Xi administration is using its anti-corruption drive The wages of graft: how the Xi administration is using its anti-corruption drive, Jonathan Fenby, 28 Aug 2014
Xinjiang violence soars Xinjiang violence soars, Jonathan Fenby, 4 Aug 2014
Smaller is better: Xi keeps his foot on the anti-graft pedal Smaller is better: Xi keeps his foot on the anti-graft pedal, Jonathan Fenby, 1 Aug 2014
The confrontation in Hong Kong sharpens The confrontation in Hong Kong sharpens, Jonathan Fenby, 11 Jul 2014
Soft words and chill winds Soft words and chill winds, Jonathan Fenby, 9 Jul 2014
Recent media appearances Recent media appearances, Jonathan Fenby, 7 Jul 2014
China’s reluctance to buy US energy is overstated China’s reluctance to buy US energy is overstated, Stephen O'Sullivan, 1 Jul 2014
China Blog – Xi steps up the anti-corruption campaign; most senior victim to date put through the wringer China Blog – Xi steps up the anti-corruption campaign; most senior victim to date put through the wringer, Jonathan Fenby, 30 Jun 2014
China vs US in East Asia: The gloves come off China vs US in East Asia: The gloves come off, Jonathan Fenby, 3 Jun 2014
Anti-Chinese attacks in Vietnam highlight danger of East Asian nationalisms Anti-Chinese attacks in Vietnam highlight danger of East Asian nationalisms, Jonathan Fenby, 16 May 2014
China takes steps on the environment – wait for results China takes steps on the environment – wait for results, Jonathan Fenby, 22 Apr 2014
China spring miscellany – Xi, reform, anti-corruption, Ukraine China spring miscellany – Xi, reform, anti-corruption, Ukraine, Jonathan Fenby, 17 Apr 2014
China puts its toe into the Ukraine waters but is inhibited by its own concerns China puts its toe into the Ukraine waters but is inhibited by its own concerns, Jonathan Fenby, 17 Mar 2014
Ukraine presents China with a dilemma – as business rows surface Ukraine presents China with a dilemma – as business rows surface, 3 Mar 2014
The net closes round Zhou Yongkang and his network The net closes round Zhou Yongkang and his network, Jonathan Fenby, 25 Feb 2014
China energy blog focuses on gas China energy blog focuses on gas, Jonathan Fenby, 25 Feb 2014
Xi tries to play the World War Two card against Japan – in Europe Xi tries to play the World War Two card against Japan – in Europe, Jonathan Fenby, 24 Feb 2014
Taking a less bearish view of China Taking a less bearish view of China, 12 Feb 2014
China’s offshore revelation faces Xi with another challenge China’s offshore revelation faces Xi with another challenge, 22 Jan 2014
No season of goodwill on the East Asian seas as Japan goes pro-active No season of goodwill on the East Asian seas as Japan goes pro-active, Jonathan Fenby, 20 Dec 2013
Trapping the tiger: corruption campaign collateral Trapping the tiger: corruption campaign collateral, 18 Dec 2013
The other big challenge facing Xi and Li The other big challenge facing Xi and Li, 10 Dec 2013
Pacific Overtures – The music rolls on Pacific Overtures – The music rolls on, 28 Nov 2013
East Asia: Taiwan: softly, softly for now – but unification remains the aim East Asia: Taiwan: softly, softly for now – but unification remains the aim, 7 Nov 2013
East Asia: Trans-Pacific Partnership problems grow East Asia: Trans-Pacific Partnership problems grow, 6 Nov 2013
Not 1914 but tension is still rising in East Asia Not 1914 but tension is still rising in East Asia, 1 Nov 2013
Professor Li’s prescription for the dollar trap – and why it doesn’t  work Professor Li’s prescription for the dollar trap – and why it doesn’t work, Jonathan Fenby, 17 Oct 2013
Shanghai’s free trade zone: not all it is painted Shanghai’s free trade zone: not all it is painted, 1 Oct 2013
New man, old methods – but what does it mean for reform? New man, old methods – but what does it mean for reform?, Jonathan Fenby, 27 Sep 2013
Better numbers but for how long? Better numbers but for how long?, Jonathan Fenby, 12 Sep 2013
Going for a tiger Going for a tiger, Jonathan Fenby, 30 Aug 2013
The China contradictions persist The China contradictions persist, Jonathan Fenby, 30 Aug 2013
Bo has his five days in court Bo has his five days in court, Jonathan Fenby, 27 Aug 2013
Bo Xilai is allowed to slip the leash Bo Xilai is allowed to slip the leash, 22 Aug 2013
Rays of sunshine through the clouds Rays of sunshine through the clouds, 21 Aug 2013
China and Japan: what’s in a name? China and Japan: what’s in a name?, Jonathan Fenby, 12 Aug 2013
The price of Snowden The price of Snowden, Jonathan Fenby, 25 Jun 2013
After the summit:  China and America - together but apart After the summit: China and America - together but apart, Jonathan Fenby, 12 Jun 2013
Obama and Xi sound each other out Obama and Xi sound each other out, 5 Jun 2013
China’s safety problem gets more serious for the new leaders China’s safety problem gets more serious for the new leaders, 4 Jun 2013
How China picks and chooses in Europe How China picks and chooses in Europe, 29 May 2013
A couple of media pieces you may find of interest A couple of media pieces you may find of interest, Jonathan Fenby, 27 May 2013
Watch the clouds Watch the clouds, 20 May 2013
China’s food safety – and the trust deficit China’s food safety – and the trust deficit, 7 May 2013
Rising confrontations and the China Dream Rising confrontations and the China Dream, 2 May 2013
China’s regional policy dilemma deepens China’s regional policy dilemma deepens, 10 Apr 2013
Xi and his dream Xi and his dream, 4 Apr 2013
Pigs in the river: A symptom of something broader Pigs in the river: A symptom of something broader, 20 Mar 2013
East Asia: The dangers of the rhetoric East Asia: The dangers of the rhetoric, 4 Mar 2013
China and North Korea: When the little brother thumbs his nose China and North Korea: When the little brother thumbs his nose, 27 Feb 2013
China’s new leaders look at the world China’s new leaders look at the world, 22 Feb 2013
The priorities behind Xi’s new face The priorities behind Xi’s new face, 13 Feb 2013
What property crash? What property crash?, 5 Feb 2013
The problems with fighting corruption The problems with fighting corruption, 29 Jan 2013
The cracks in China's mirror The cracks in China's mirror, Jonathan Fenby, 14 Jan 2013
The risk factor rises in the Pacific The risk factor rises in the Pacific, Jonathan Fenby, 11 Jan 2013
Inequality, frugality and Mr Xi’s accommodation Inequality, frugality and Mr Xi’s accommodation, Jonathan Fenby, 14 Dec 2012
Xi’s China Dream needs a ‘stronger sense of peril’ Xi’s China Dream needs a ‘stronger sense of peril’, Jonathan Fenby, 13 Dec 2012
The lure of a populist, nationalist start to the new administration The lure of a populist, nationalist start to the new administration, Jonathan Fenby, 29 Nov 2012
China’s great transition raises status quo risk China’s great transition raises status quo risk, Jonathan Fenby, 15 Nov 2012
Obama’s Southeast Asia play and China Obama’s Southeast Asia play and China, Jonathan Fenby, 9 Nov 2012
China’s Congress: The status quo risk premium China’s Congress: The status quo risk premium, Jonathan Fenby, 7 Nov 2012
China's leaders take a history lesson China's leaders take a history lesson, Jonathan Fenby, 1 Nov 2012
Labouring forward; hukou reform raises its head Labouring forward; hukou reform raises its head, Jonathan Fenby, 29 Oct 2012
Jonathan Fenby on China and the US Jonathan Fenby on China and the US, Jonathan Fenby, 29 Oct 2012
Legal reform could be on the cards after the transition Legal reform could be on the cards after the transition, 16 Oct 2012
Musical chairs, Chinese style Musical chairs, Chinese style, 8 Oct 2012
Hong Kong: China’s trust problem Hong Kong: China’s trust problem, 4 Oct 2012
The Party clears the decks The Party clears the decks, 28 Sep 2012
China’s transition; moving on … China’s transition; moving on …, 26 Sep 2012
Recent articles that may be of interest Recent articles that may be of interest, 25 Sep 2012
The Bo Xilai case: Two down, Bo to go The Bo Xilai case: Two down, Bo to go, 20 Sep 2012
China and Japan: the domestic threat China and Japan: the domestic threat, 17 Sep 2012
Xi Jinping latest Xi Jinping latest, 13 Sep 2012
The Xi question The Xi question, 12 Sep 2012
A Father, a son, a crashed black Ferrari and the leadership transition A Father, a son, a crashed black Ferrari and the leadership transition, 6 Sep 2012
East Asia: How China benefits from restraint East Asia: How China benefits from restraint, 30 Aug 2012
The Bo imbroglio: Into the final stretch, but closure may prove elusive The Bo imbroglio: Into the final stretch, but closure may prove elusive, 21 Aug 2012
The Gu Kailai case – follow the script The Gu Kailai case – follow the script, 13 Aug 2012
The Gu trial – it’s all politics but she’s not Madame Mao The Gu trial – it’s all politics but she’s not Madame Mao, 9 Aug 2012
A Chinese protest up close A Chinese protest up close, 6 Aug 2012
Xi inveighs against graft but portents are not promising Xi inveighs against graft but portents are not promising, 3 Aug 2012
PLA promotes a liberal to the front line PLA promotes a liberal to the front line, 1 Aug 2012
Big thinking but no stimulus rerun Big thinking but no stimulus rerun, 31 Jul 2012
The Bo Xilai case: The dog that hasn’t barked The Bo Xilai case: The dog that hasn’t barked, 27 Jul 2012
A flag too many A flag too many, 25 Jul 2012
A Perfectly Modulated Indicator puts off China’s OMG moment A Perfectly Modulated Indicator puts off China’s OMG moment, 25 Jul 2012
China ups its African connection China ups its African connection, 19 Jul 2012
China plays its South-East Asia card China plays its South-East Asia card, 17 Jul 2012
Reading China’s inflation data Reading China’s inflation data, 9 Jul 2012
China’s carrot and stick handling of protests China’s carrot and stick handling of protests, 4 Jul 2012
China’s angry young migrants China’s angry young migrants, 2 Jul 2012
China’s nuclear programme to resume. A huge IPO is in sight but the sector has limited prospects China’s nuclear programme to resume. A huge IPO is in sight but the sector has limited prospects, 25 Jun 2012
Keeping the army in step Keeping the army in step, 22 Jun 2012
How the mighty are fallen – and fight back How the mighty are fallen – and fight back, 28 May 2012
The Bo Xilai case: line up the suspects and protect the Politburo The Bo Xilai case: line up the suspects and protect the Politburo, 22 May 2012
East Asian asymmetry grows greater East Asian asymmetry grows greater, 14 May 2012
When US politics and China’s security apparatus go head to head When US politics and China’s security apparatus go head to head, 4 May 2012
Everything crowds in on the leadership Everything crowds in on the leadership, 30 Apr 2012
Play the wife, not the man Play the wife, not the man, 24 Apr 2012
Widening the band Widening the band, 16 Apr 2012
Chongqing protest – but it’s not for Bo Chongqing protest – but it’s not for Bo, 12 Apr 2012
Recent media articles and interviews Recent media articles and interviews, 11 Apr 2012
What does the Bo Xilai drama tell us about China today? What does the Bo Xilai drama tell us about China today?, 11 Apr 2012
What to watch for this week in China What to watch for this week in China, 10 Apr 2012
The Bo business fallout The Bo business fallout, 5 Apr 2012
The slow path to financial reform The slow path to financial reform, 2 Apr 2012
The Beijing rumour mill – less than meets the eye The Beijing rumour mill – less than meets the eye, 23 Mar 2012
Recent media pieces that may be of interest Recent media pieces that may be of interest, 23 Mar 2012
China’s Party Law gets sharper teeth China’s Party Law gets sharper teeth, 21 Mar 2012
How the mighty fall How the mighty fall, 19 Mar 2012
Reading China’s censors Reading China’s censors, 14 Mar 2012
Moving to a new reality Moving to a new reality, 7 Mar 2012
China and Japan: Economics trumps politics and history China and Japan: Economics trumps politics and history, 27 Feb 2012
Water and Growth: China’s illiquid assets Water and Growth: China’s illiquid assets, Jonathan Fenby, 22 Feb 2012
Hong Kong poses a problem for Beijing Hong Kong poses a problem for Beijing, Jonathan Fenby, 20 Feb 2012
China’s economic direction: feeling the stones China’s economic direction: feeling the stones, Jonathan Fenby, 16 Feb 2012
Chongqing bombshell: the plot thickens Chongqing bombshell: the plot thickens, Jonathan Fenby, 13 Feb 2012
How China plays Europe How China plays Europe, 10 Feb 2012
Media interviews and articles on China Media interviews and articles on China, Jonathan Fenby, 8 Feb 2012
A bombshell explodes in Chongqing A bombshell explodes in Chongqing, Jonathan Fenby, 8 Feb 2012
China’s social challenge; laughing to keep from crying China’s social challenge; laughing to keep from crying, 6 Feb 2012
Yuan internalisation: curb your enthusiasm Yuan internalisation: curb your enthusiasm, Jonathan Fenby, 3 Feb 2012
Who cares about the real economy? Who cares about the real economy?, Jonathan Fenby, 1 Feb 2012
One Year, Many Dragons One Year, Many Dragons, 30 Jan 2012
Wen does it again Wen does it again, 21 Sep 2011
Why fighting inflation means buying more corn – and land Why fighting inflation means buying more corn – and land, 15 Jul 2011
How China Works: Where the real power lies How China Works: Where the real power lies, 30 Jun 2011
Kissinger’s China Fix Kissinger’s China Fix, 29 Jun 2011
Why the hard landing won’t happen Why the hard landing won’t happen, 24 Jun 2011
China’s Libya play China’s Libya play, 24 Jun 2011
What China’s Mao revival does not mean What China’s Mao revival does not mean, 7 Jun 2011
China’s energy muddle China’s energy muddle, 25 May 2011
China’s Power Squeeze Tightens China’s Power Squeeze Tightens, 18 May 2011
China’s fresh drought China’s fresh drought, 17 May 2011
Why China needs more coal Why China needs more coal, 6 May 2011
China’s developers shift to commercial real estate China’s developers shift to commercial real estate, 5 May 2011
After the Congress After the Congress, 13 Apr 2011
Pigging Out Pigging Out, 12 Apr 2011
Where China performs poorly Where China performs poorly, 11 Apr 2011
Now it’s pork Now it’s pork, 11 Apr 2011
An optimistic hint on local loans An optimistic hint on local loans, 6 Apr 2011
How will Japan’s disaster affect China? How will Japan’s disaster affect China?, 16 Mar 2011
China’s strange growth arithmetic China’s strange growth arithmetic, 28 Feb 2011
More steel, more cement More steel, more cement, 25 Feb 2011
Stay West, young man Stay West, young man, 23 Feb 2011
Why rail baron’s fall will not hit policy Why rail baron’s fall will not hit policy, 14 Feb 2011
China and Egypt China and Egypt, 14 Feb 2011
What 2011 holds What 2011 holds, 11 Jan 2011

China Blog

What's going on in the world's second biggest economy

LNG import infrastructure: Overbuilt and underused

26 Feb 2015

By Stephen O'Sullivan, Managing Director, EM Energy Research

China used only half its available liquefied natural gas (LNG) import infrastructure in 2014, as slower economic growth, rising domestic gas prices and cheaper competing fuel reduced gas demand growth. Growth last year was 8. 9 per cent, against 10. 8 per cent the previous year. The country currently has 12 operational LNG import terminals, although only 10 were active for the full year. Against their nominal capacity of 35 million tonnes, they imported 19.5 million tonnes, a utilization rate of 55 per cent. The...

Read the full text of "LNG import infrastructure: Overbuilt and underused"

The impact of lower oil prices on shale gas in China

18 Feb 2015

By Stephen O'Sullivan, Managing Director, EM Energy Research

The sharp fall in the price of oil over the past half year or so is causing companies around the world to rein in capital expenditure and to delay or cancel projects. The actual and potential impact of these changes on future output has been a major reason for the recent 20 per cent rebound in the oil price.

Opinions within China are sharply divided between those who believe the effect of low oil prices on China’s shale gas business will be limited and those who think it will force a fundamental rethink of the...

Read the full text of "The impact of lower oil prices on shale gas in China"

China gas consumption slowdown – a new challenge for gas exporters?

11 Feb 2015

By Stephen O'Sullivan, Managing Director, EM Energy Research

CNPC has suggested that China’s gas demand forecasts are too optimistic and that the country will not reach the level of gas demand in 2020 that has been widely anticipated. If true, this has big implications for those gas exporters targeting the Chinese market.

Last November, the government announced a gas consumption target of 360 bcma by 2020 – which was itself a reduction from the previous target of 400 bcma set in April 2014. However, last month CNPC’s Economics and Technology Research Institute suggested that it...

Read the full text of "China gas consumption slowdown – a new challenge for gas exporters?"

China Energy blog post on shale output

3 Feb 2015

By Stephen O'Sullivan, Managing Director, EM Energy Research

China’s 2015 shale gas output may miss targets

China has a 2015 shale gas production target of 6.5 billion cubic metres per annum (bcma). Until recently some observers had thought it would meet that target, although we have been sceptical about whether this could really be achieved. The original 2020 target of 60-100 bcma, established in 2012, had looked increasingly unrealistic; and in 2014 it was revised down to 30 bcma. While this is a more realistic assessment, we continue to be sceptical about whether even this...

Read the full text of "China Energy blog post on shale output"