China’s worst blizzards this winter have snarled the country’s railroads and highways, cutting off critical supplies of thermal coal, and fuelling a rally in prices to record highs and raising concerns about potential heating and electricity shortages. The chaos, with coal piling up at mines and ports after a week of heavy snowfall, comes two weeks before the week-long Spring Festival holiday, when hundreds of millions of people travel vast distances home to celebrate with their families. The severe weather and congestion prompted four of China’s top utilities to warn last week of heating and electricity shortages due to tight supplies of coal ahead of and during the Lunar New Year holiday. Beijing has worked for years to wean the nation off its favourite fuel, but coal still accounts for most of the electricity generated. Average daily coal demand at utilities hit a winter-time record on […]