China’s Coal Appetite Continues To Grow

china coal growth

Source: U.S. Energy Administration

“Chinese financial website Finet quotes Phil Ren, chief of the China Coal Importers Association, as saying at an industry conference in Singapore, China’s coal imports may reach 400 million – 500 million tonnes within three years. That would constitute massive growth from current levels.” – from, 29 January 2013.

The statement made by Phil Ren coincides with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) announcing today that China continues on its upward trend in coal consumption. Figures released by the EIA to support China’s growing appetite for coal include:

“Coal consumption in China grew more than 9% in 2011, continuing its upward trend for the 12th consecutive year, according to newly released international data. China’s coal use grew by 325 million tons in 2011, accounting for 87% of the 374 million ton global increase in coal use. Of the 2.9 billion tons of global coal demand growth since 2000, China accounted for 2.3 billion tons (82%). China now accounts for 47% of global coal consumption—almost as much as the entire rest of the world combined.

Robust coal demand growth in China is the result of a more than 200% increase in Chinese electric generation since 2000, fueled primarily by coal. China’s coal demand growth averaged 9% per year from 2000 to 2010, more than double the global growth rate of 4% and significantly higher than global growth excluding China, which averaged only 1%.”

Where does China get its coal? The China National Coal Association gives in country coal production for 2012 as 3.66 billon tons, which is 4% higher than coal production in 2011. According to Platts, China also imported 289 million tons of coal in 2012. Most of the coal imported came from Indonesia (33.05%) and Australia (38.18%), with additional imports coming from South Africa (12.4%), Russia (6.58%), Mongolia (2.1%), Canada (0.92%), Colombia (2.45%), the US (4.24%) and others (0.08%).