Vessels Hired to Ship Coal to China Jumped 36% Last Week, Commodore Says

Vessels chartered to export coal to China, the world’s biggest energy user, increased by about 36 percent last week, Commodore Research & Consultancy said.

Suppliers may have hired 19 vessels to deliver coal to China in the seven days ended Dec. 3 from 14 in the previous week, Jeffrey Landsberg, president of New York City-based Commodore Research, said in a note yesterday.

“Chinese thermal coal demand remains robust,” Landsberg said. The vessels chartered to import thermal coal were also “moderately higher” than the trailing four-week average, he said. China is the world’s biggest coal consumer, using 1.54 billion tons of oil equivalent last year, three times that of the second-placed U.S., according to data compiled by BP Plc.

Power-station coal prices at Qinhuangdao port, a Chinese benchmark, fell for the first time in three months after stockpiles of the fuel surged and the government called for stability in the cost of commodities.

Coal with an energy value of 5,500 kilocalories per kilogram slipped 0.6 percent from a week earlier to between 795 yuan ($120) and 810 yuan a metric ton on Dec. 6, according to data from the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association.

Imports of coal through October this year rose by about 38 percent to 134 million tons, according to China’s Customs Statistics Information Center.

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