torsdag 7. oktober 2021

A bitter trade dispute between China and Australia helped spark a coal shortage — and now Beijing has been forced into a backflip.

China, caught in the grips of a power crunch, has begun unloading Australian coal shipments despite an unofficial import ban. Extreme weather, a surge in demand and strict orders from Beijing to reduce carbon emissions have sparked an electricity crisis in China. Aluminium smelters, textiles producers and soybean processing plants were ordered to slow activity or shut altogether last week as soaring demand pushed electricity prices to record highs. More than a dozen provinces and regions have been forced to impose curbs on energy usage in recent months.

And China’s thermal coal inventory – which is used to generate electricity – is at a record low. The crisis has seemingly forced China into a massive backflip. Nick Ristic, lead dry cargo analyst at Braemar ACM Shipbroking told the Financial Times that a handful of Australian ships waiting outside Chinese ports had headed into berth last month and there were signs that coal had been unloaded. He said 450,000 tonnes of coal had been discharged. Meanwhile energy research company Kpler reported five vessels discharged 383,000 tonnes of Aussie thermal coal into China last month.