Coal output hit a record
4.07 billion metric tons last year
, su 4.7% a partire dal 2020, according to data released by China’s National Bureau of Statistics
all'inizio di questa settimana. Imports of coal also rose last year
, to their highest level since
Nel mese di settembre 2020, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that the country would become carbon neutral by 2060
, and his government took drastic steps in the first half of
2021 toward making that a reality — including shutting down hundreds of coal mines
Those ambitions — which analysts already suspected would be tough to achieve
, especially as China’s economy recovered — were challenged by a power crunch last year
, as coal supply fell sharply
. The country recorded widespread power shortages, including household blackouts
. Factories were also forced to cut production
, causing disruption to supply chains
To ease the crisis
, China ordered mines to boost coal production last fall
. Entro dicembre, production had jumped more than
7% from a year earlier to an all-time monthly high of
385 milioni di tonnellate, recent statistics show
. That was also the third straight month of increases
Even Xi has softened his tone a bit on carbon emissions, suggesting that Chinese leaders understand the challenges of their targets.
“Carbon peak and carbon neutrality cannot be realized overnight,” Xi said Monday in an online speech at the World Economic Forum. “Through solid and steady steps, China will pursue an orderly phase-down of traditional energy in the course of finding reliable substitution in new energy.’
Nel frattempo, prices in China for thermal coal — which is mainly used to generate electricity and provide heating — have shot higher in recent days. Thermal coal futures surged nearly 7% on Wednesday to about 775 yuan ($ 122) per metric ton, according to the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange. The contract has soared 13% so far this year.
China expects its power consumption “to continue its rapid growth in 2022,” said Li Yunqing, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission, at a press conference on Tuesday in Beijing. Consumption in 2021 was already strong, crescente 10.3% a partire dal 2020, according to government statistics.
Analysts from Guotai Junan Securities
, a major Chinese investment bank
, attributed January’s rebound in coal prices in part to a recent export ban on coal from Indonesia
. China had been importing more coal from the Southeast Asian nation to keep up with its domestic demand
, especially after reportedly restricting imports from Australia in late 2020.
The Guotai Junan analysts expect the demand for coal to remain strong this year, as China needs to stabilize economic growth, and coal power is critical to that plan, according to a research report on Tuesday.
Chinese policymakers have made it clear that ensuring stability is a top priority
nel 2022 and pledged to take proactive measures to support growth
. All'inizio di questa settimana, China reported its GDP grew
8.1% nel 2021, outstripping the government’s own targets
. But growth slowed to half that pace in the last quarter
, and may not accelerate much this year
, according to some economists
Leaders of China’s ruling Communist Party said last month that they would prioritize investment in infrastructure in 2022 to bolster economic growth
, as such projects can create more jobs
. But such work is heavily reliant on fossil fuels