ENLARGE

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife pose for a photo with President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and his wife ahead of the commemoration activities to mark the end of World War II in Beijing.

Photo:

Zuma Press

By

Brian Spegele

Brian Spegele
The Wall Street Journal

CANCEL

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@bspegele

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Sept. 3, 2015 5:27 a.m. ET

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BEIJING—Many of the world leaders in attendance Thursday at China’s military parade have one thing in common: They represent ailing resource-producers desperate to tap Chinese demand. While Western heads of state largely skipped the festivities in Beijing marking the anniversary of the end of World War II, leaders of nations that depend on selling oil, gas and other commodities to China turned up in force. They include leaders from Russia, Venezuela and Sudan. China’s major oil-and-gas companies are all ultimately owned by the central government, meaning Beijing can have significant sway over where they make deals or obtain the foreign barrels of oil that meet over half of total Chinese demand today. Securing sales, investment or financing deals with China are perhaps more important now than ever for struggling resource-producing nations. Many previously relied on U.S. imports, which have dropped due to rising domestic supply. At the same time, global commodity markets have been hit by concerns that China’s economic slowdown will erode its resource needs.

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The combination of factors contributed to falling oil and gas prices, which has sharply squeezed national budgets for producers like Venezuela. President Nicolás Maduro, in Beijing for the festivities, said his country had secured a new $5 billion loan from China to increase oil production in Venezuela. “The leaders of the big exporters, particularly really weak ones like Venezuela and Russia, are desperate to strengthen their relationships at the highest levels in China to try to get their crude to the front of the queue,” said Mikkal Herberg, an …Read More