Despite a string of high-profile measures by the Chinese government aimed at improving air quality, China’s coal imports will continue to grow strongly in 2014, according to the Australian Bureau of Resource and Energy Economics (BREE). In its latest Resources and Energy Quarterly report, the bureau noted that China’s imports of coal (including lignite) increased by 8% year-on-year to 91 million t in the first four months of this year.
China’s coal demand keeps growing
Overall BREE expects China’s thermal coal imports to increase by 4% to 250 million t in 2014 and by a further 3% in 2015 to hit 267 million t.
“Although China intends to increase the use of renewable energy sources, coal will remain and important energy source to ensure stable electricity supply,” the report said. “UBS Securities estimates that around 36 GW of new coal-fired capacity will be developed in 2014, with a further 42 GW in 2015.”
Global coal trade
Globally, trade in thermal coal is forecast to increase by 1% to 1.035 billion t in 2014, rising to 1.055 billion t in 2015. “The stability coal provides as a source of baseload power and its relatively low cost in the absence of carbon policies will continue to support the use of coal, particularly in emerging economies,” concluded the report. “Although the development of renewable energy sources is increasing rapidly in [these] economies, this growth is still not sufficient to meet the increase in energy demand, let along force a reduction in coal consumption in most countries.”
Written by Jonathan Rowland
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