Politics Blog

Citi analysis sees weakening demand for coal in China

Another analysis of Chinese coal demand is sharply questioning widespread assumptions that the Asian economic superpower's coal appetite can only go up.

The report from Citi Research suggests that Chinese coal demand could peak as soon as 2015. The report says that has significant implications for those planning to export coal to China.

Greenpeace called my attention to this report in a press release today.

The Citi report notes that estimates of Chinese coal demand vary widely, but it also observes that Chinese economic growth may be shifting down to a slower rate. At the same time, China is moving to diversify its power sources, relying more on LNG and nuclear power. It is also making its newer coal plants more efficient--meaning that they need to burn less coal per megawatt of power.

Chinese coal demand is a driving force behind the push to build coal export terminals in the Northwest, including the Gateway Pacific project at Cherry Point in Whatcom County.

Greenpeace offers its analysis of Chinese coal use here.