China Coal Imports Seen Boosting Ship Demand as Stockpiles Fall

Chinese imports of coal to generate electricity for summer is increasing demand for shipping as its stockpiles drop, according to Commodore Research & Consultancy.

Two Capesizes and three Panamaxes were booked to carry coal to China today, compared with seven vessels during all of last week, Jeffrey Landsberg, New York-based managing director of the adviser to ship owners, said in an e-mailed report today. Stockpiles at Qinhuangdao, the country’s main coal port, fell 6 percent since the end of last week to 6.7 million tons, below the level that officials seek to maintain, Landsberg said.

“Peak summer electricity demand season in China is in full effect and is contributing to the decline in coal stockpiles,” Landsberg said in the report. “The increase in Chinese demand for imported thermal coal cargoes has provided added support to both the Capesize and Panamax markets.”

Daily earnings for Capesizes more than doubled since the start of the month to $13,891, the highest since December, according to the Baltic Exchange, the London-based publisher of shipping costs. Panamaxes gained 23 percent to $7,759 in the same period, Baltic Exchange figures show.

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