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China's coal imports spiral

Beijing: Net coal imports to China, the world's biggest coal producer, could soar by 70-100 to 170 million tonnes or more in 2010, boosting coal prices globally, if China's power use boom continues, according to exporters and analysts including the International Energy Agency. Despite domestic coal output of over 3 billion tonnes a year, China's 2009 net imports soared to 100 million tonnes, having been forecast at 50 million at the start of the year.
?"In the context of China being set to overtake the U.S. this year as the world's largest electricity consumer, with power demand growth of 24 percent in some regions, China could easily import 170 million tonnes this year," said Brian Ricketts, coal analyst with the Paris-based International Energy Agency.
?"It would not surprise anybody if they did -- China's electricity consumption growth is astounding," Ricketts said.?Worldwide annual seaborne trade in thermal coal is around 650 million tonnes of which about 400 million is in Asia. A rise of 170 million in Chinese demand will tip the balance steeply.?
Coal prices rose by US$10.00 a tonne in May to around US$90 delivered into Europe and FOB South Africa's Richards Bay on growing anxiety among European end-users about tight supply. [18/05/10]


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