Chinese Power Plant Coal Imports Robust as Winter Arrives, Commodore Says

Power-station coal imports to China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, will probably be supported by rising electricity demand after the early onset of winter, Commodore Research & Consultancy said.

China’s power needs may reach a record in winter and thermal-coal demand “will likely remain robust,” Commodore said in an e-mailed note today. “We expect a surge in vessels to be chartered towards the end of the month to import” the fuel, Commodore said.

Falling temperatures in parts of China’s northeast, the country’s biggest corn and soybean-producing region, may bring freezing weather and negatively affect crops,, a portal owned by the China National Grain & Oils Information Center, said in an e-mailed report last month. Coal stockpiles at Qinhuangdao port have been “declining sharply” since the end of September, Commodore said today.

Australia will export a moderate amount to China and may see an increase at the end of October or early November, when demand is expected to surge, Jeffrey Landsberg, president of New York-based Commodore, said in an e-mailed response to questions. Forecast heavy rainfall in Queensland state may limit shipments, according to Landsberg.

Queensland, which produces 95 percent of Australia’s sugar and is the country’s largest coal exporter, may get more tropical storms than average this season because of the La Nina weather pattern, the bureau said on Oct. 4. The state’s cyclone season extends from November to April.

“So it’s Australia and Indonesia as the major sources of coal to China, and to a lesser extent, South Africa and Russia,” Landsberg said. “Colombia, the United States and Canada will export more coal to China when demand is strong and supply is very tight.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Clyde Russell in Singapore at

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