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China’s reduction … 160810

Agustus 16, 2010

Coal Imports May Drop in China on Less Growth, More Hydro: Energy Markets
By Bloomberg News – Aug 3, 2010
China, the world’s largest energy consumer, may reduce monthly coal imports to the lowest level in more than a year in the second half as the economy cools.

Purchases may drop to 59.5 million metric tons, or 9.9 million tons a month, from 81 million tons in the first six months of the year, a decline of 27 percent, according to the median estimate of four industry officials and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News. The monthly forecast would be the smallest level of imports since May last year.

The growth in China’s power consumption may slow to about 5 percent in the second half from 22 percent in the first, the China Electricity Council said July 26. Premier Wen Jiabao is trimming loans while implementing measures to cut pollution from power plants that run on fossil fuels.

“Demand growth from industries, including power, steel, construction material and fertilizer, has seen a noticeable decrease since April, and we expect the gain to ease further during the rest of the year,” said Shi Yu, an analyst with China Merchants Securities Ltd. in Hong Kong.

China’s July manufacturing data were the weakest in more than a year, a purchasing managers’ index released yesterday by HSBC Holdings Plc and Markit Economics and a separate gauge published Aug. 1 by the government’s Federation of Logistics and Purchasing showed. China’s economy may expand 10.1 percent this year, according to the median of 27 economists’ forecasts compiled by Bloomberg, down from last year’s 10.7 percent.

Local Is Cheaper

Shipments to China may also decline because imported coal is more expensive than domestic supplies, said Huang Teng, general manager of Beijing LT Consulting Ltd. and a former trader at China National Coal Corp., the nation’s second-largest producer. Australia and Indonesia were the top suppliers to China last year, accounting for about 60 percent of imports.

Coal at Qinhuangdao port fell 1.3 percent, the most in four months, to between 740 yuan ($109) and 750 yuan a ton as of July 26. It was the first decline during the peak summer period since 2007, according to, a Shanxi, China-based data provider. Coal shipped from the Australian port of Newcastle costs about $95 a ton plus $17 freight, and taxes, Huang said.

Prices may decline 3 percent to 722.5 yuan ($107) a ton by December from current levels, according to the survey.

Coal loading volume at Qinhuangdao, the nation’s largest transit port of the fuel, fell 4.8 percent to 18.54 million tons last month from a year earlier, according to data released today.

China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of coal, may have a surplus in the second half as demand wanes, Wu Chenghou, a senior adviser to the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association, said June 3.

Demand Growth

Coal consumption may increase 8 percent for all of this year, according to Martin Wang, an analyst with Guotai Junan Securities Ltd. It jumped 14 percent in the first half and 20 percent in 2009, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The amount of electricity generated from China’s hydropower stations rose 29 percent to 71.5 billion kilowatt-hours last month, reducing demand in a country where coal provides 80 percent of its power, the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic planner, said July 7.

Demand may pick up “a bit” as power plants stockpile after flooding in southern China eases, Beijing LT Consulting’s Huang said.

Flooding and landslides destroyed almost 450,000 homes and ruined more than 400,000 hectares (988,422 acres) of farmland since the beginning of July at a cost of about 52.7 billion yuan, the Ministry of Civil Affairs said July 27.

Sufficient Stockpiles

Chinese power plants had sufficient coal as of a month ago, Zhou Xi’an, head of the National Energy Administration’s general office in Beijing, said on July 20. Stockpiles rose 8.2 percent to 58 million tons at the end of June from a month earlier, according to the NDRC. Inventories in Hunan province, which typically has a power shortage in summer, rose to a record 4.2 million tons, the news portal said on July 29.

China’s overseas coal purchases fell to 12.11 million tons in June from a record of 16.38 million tons in December as costs increased. The price of Newcastle coal with an energy value of 6,700 kilocalories per kilogram rose 9 percent this year, according to McCloskey Group Ltd.

China became a net coal importer for the first time in 2009 after purchases from overseas more than tripled to a record of 125.8 million tons from a year earlier. It bought 41 million tons in 2008 and 51 million in 2007.

–Winnie Zhu, Baizhen Chua. Editors: Clyde Russell, Jane Lee.


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