Bloomberg News

China Qinhuangdao Coal Price Rises to Highest in Three Years

October 24, 2011

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- China’s power-station coal price rose to the highest level in three years as power stations and central heating plants built up stocks to meet winter demand.

Coal with an energy value of 5,500 kilocalories per kilogram rose 0.6 percent to a range of 850 yuan ($133) to 860 yuan a metric ton as of yesterday compared with a week earlier, according to data today from the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association. That’s the highest price since Oct. 20, 2008.

The benchmark price has risen 3 percent since Sept. 11. Inventories at the port, which ships half of China’s seaborne coal supplies, climbed 3.2 percent to 5 million tons from a week earlier and are at the third-lowest level this year.

The National Energy Administration said last month that provinces in southern and central China, which rely on hydropower, and areas that have low power tariffs, will face tighter electricity supply in the winter and spring. The supply shortfall may be as much as 26 gigawatts, the official Xinhua news agency reported Oct. 20, citing Tan Rongyao, a spokesman with the State Electricity Regulatory Commission.

Northern Chinese cities typically distribute heating from centralized plants in November through March. The temperature in northern China has dropped as much as 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit) since yesterday and the temperature in central and eastern China will drop as much as 10 degrees Celsius by tomorrow, according to the China Meteorological Administration.

China, the world’s biggest coal consumer, bought record amounts of the fuel in September as importers sought cheaper regional supplies. Imports rose 25 percent to 19.1 million metric tons from a year earlier, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Oct.20.

The nation’s largest power stations had 70.9 million tons of inventories as of Oct. 18, the equivalent of 20 days of consumption, the NDRC said. That’s an increase of 6.3 million tons from the end of September, it said.

--Chua Baizhen, Jing Yang.

--Editors: Paul Gordon, Christian Schmollinger

To contact the reporter on this story: Jing Yang in Shanghai at jyang251@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Gordon at pgordon6@bloomberg.net


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