Chinese coal futures rose to record levels as floods shut dozens of mines and displaced more than 100,000 people, throttling the country’s main source of fuel for electricity and compounding a global energy crisis.
Coal futures traded on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange climbed 11.6 per cent to close at an all-time high of Rmb1,408.20 ($218.74) a tonne on Monday. The CSI Coal index of big miners listed in Shanghai and Shenzhen rose 3-7 per cent, partly reversing losses from last week, when official orders to boost coal production sent prices tumbling.
Flooding in the central province of Shanxi over the weekend piled further pressure on Beijing to contain a growing energy crisis that threatens to undermine the recovery of the world’s second-largest economy. China’s problems come as price volatility in global energy markets has sent countries scrambling to procure power supplies at ever-higher costs.
The majority of China’s domestic coal comes from Shanxi, neighbouring Shaanxi province and the Inner Mongolia region. Other local factors, including an anti-corruption campaign in the coal industry and mine closures to reduce air pollution around national events, have led to power rationing for industrial and, in some cases, residential users.
“We expect the power cuts and resulting production disruptions to be temporary,” said Michael Taylor, chief credit officer for Asia-Pacific at Moody?s. “But if they continue for an extended period, such as into winter, the effects will spread across the domestic — and potentially global — economy.’
The floods in Shanxi displaced about 120,000 people, forced the closure of 60 coal mines and damaged more than 190,000 hectares of crops, according to figures released by the provincial government.