Bloomberg News

China’s Coal Prices Climb to 2008 High; Producer Shares Rise

June 20, 2011

(Updates with coal-producer shares in third paragraph.)

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- China’s benchmark power-station coal prices rose to the highest since October 2008 as summer electricity demand increased in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

The price of coal with an energy value of 5,500 kilocalories per kilogram at Qinhuangdao port gained 0.6 percent to 840 yuan ($130) to 855 yuan a metric ton as of today from a week earlier, data from the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association showed.

Industrial growth and rising summer temperatures have increased consumption of coal, which is used as fuel at more than 70 percent of the nation’s power plants. Producers including Yanzhou Coal Mining Co. advanced in Shanghai trading after the benchmark price climbed for a second straight week.

China’s power demand usually peaks in July to September, when high temperatures increase use of air-conditioners. The country’s summer electricity shortage may exceed its most severe in 2004, according to State Grid Corp. of China.

The benchmark Qinhuangdao coal price has gained more than 10 percent this year, according to Bloomberg calculations based on data from the association. Prices climbed above 1,000 yuan a ton in July 2008, a record, along with a commodity boom.

Stockpiles of the fuel at Qinhuangdao, which ships half of China’s seaborne coal, rose 0.5 percent to 5.8 million tons from a week earlier, according to the association’s data.

--With assistance from Chua Baizhen in Beijing. Editors: Jane, Ching Shen Lee, Paul Gordon

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