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China nearly halves coal imports ahead of potential Australia ban

Glencore coal

New data suggests Mainland China has been preparing to reduce its coal uptake for at least a year, fuelling speculation the communist country might ban coal imported from Australia.

The latest statistics from the International Energy Agency’s Clean Coal Centre show China imported about 47 per cent less coal in October 2020 than the same month in the prior year. This means the country only imported 13.7 million tonnes (Mt) of coal compared to nearly 25.7 Mt in October 2019.

57 per cent market share affected

Australia exported about 57 per cent of China’s thermal coal and more than 40 per cent of its coking coal orders during calendar 2019 according to the centre. However, China Customs delayed several shipments at several ports and many orders were cancelled after customers complained Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials ordered them to stop importing Australian coal.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs will not openly declare a ban on Australian coal and copper, although it has previously prohibited meat imports from four Australian abattoirs and imposed a new 80 per cent tariff on Australian barley.

The Australian Government is still trying to find answers from CCP officials but this has proven difficult since Federal Trade Minister Simon Birmingham has been unable to speak with Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan for several months due to ongoing diplomatic tensions.

$32B plan announced

The New South Wales Government has responded by announcing a $32 billion Renewable Energy Plan to make it easier for energy producers to transition away from coal to solar, wind and other environmentally friendly power sources.

The plan is promised to generate 12 gigawatts (GW) of electricity, 2 GW of pumped hydro and battery storage and 9000 construction jobs.

Coal workers ‘forgotten’

However, the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) is concerned this strategy provides no clear employment pathways for affected coal workers or new investment in regional communities that rely on the coal industry to survive.

“In the rush to fund renewables, this [State] Government has forgotten the workers and communities who will be most affected,” CFMEU northern mining and NSW energy president Peter Jordan said in a public statement.

“Without planning and investment, the closure of coal-fired power stations and the coal mines that supply them lead to a loss of steady, well-paying jobs that is devastating to regional communities … we need a plan for supporting these communities with steady, well-paying jobs.”

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Jordan believes renewable energy projects cannot completely substitute coal mines and power stations.

“The government claims this roadmap will create 9000 jobs but most are in construction and only 2800 would be ongoing,” he said.

“I am sceptical about these figures and worried that jobs created will be temporary and low-paid.”

Meanwhile, Federal Shadow Resources Minister Joel Fitzgibbon resigned from his ministerial post because he was concerned the Australian Labor Party was trying to be too ambitious with its carbon emissions reduction target.

“The Labor Party has been spending too much time in recent years talking about issues like climate change … [and] not enough time talking about the needs of our traditional base,” he told the Australian Associated Press.

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  • Who will buy Aussie Iron Ore after the Aussie-China Trade War ?

    Who will buy Aussie Coal ?

    Who will buy Aussie Agro ? Here there is some hope,as the growth of affluence in the world,will open new markets and the incremental freight and marketing costs,which will have to be incurred by Aussie,will slowly yield higher NSR,in the target markets.But it will take time

    Who can use Aussie Coal ? EU is exiting Coal.LATAM.South Am have enough Coal.North America has enough Coal,and US is exiting coal.So we are left with the Indian Duds.The way to sell their spiel to the Indians,is that,the Indians,should keep their black gold in the ground (for some future disaster),and start using Aussie coal via imports (with some discounts in the pricing).dindooohindoo

    In the alt,Aussie will need to go up the value chain,and partner with power exporters in India (metals and ferro alloy units),to sell them coal,be JV partners in the Ferro Alloy units and then export the ferro alloys.Aussie banks and Aussie PE,can fund the power plants of the ferro alloy units,as an IPP feeding power through the grid.The Ferro Alloys can be funded,by an Indian Bank.

    The sane model can be applied with LDCs,who have the ore (say manganese),lack power,have medium draft ports and will qualify for Nil Duty access,into regulated markets.

    Who will buy Aussie Iron Ore ? In the next few years,the iron ore mines of PRC in Africa and other nations,will go live.

    The only way out for Aussie,is to make Sponge Iron and Steel.If Iron travels from Aussie to Pohang and Nippon and Shangahi,then to a steel mill,which makes steel, then the steel goes to the USA – if all this dead freight,still makes profits for POSCO and Nippon Steel,then exporting steel from Aussie,and to the export markets of PRC/Nippon Steel and POSCO,will be AS VIABLE,if not more viable.

    If UK and Aussie and USA are really serious about Countering PRC,they should allow Aussie steel imports on the same tarriffs,as the Indian duds.

    If Mike Pompeo wants Aussie to STOP Iron exports to PRC and squeeze PRC profits,surely USA can allow NIL duty access for Aussie steel into USA.

    If the Indian weasels are serious about the PRC threat,why not allow Aussie steel imports into India at NIL DUTY,or say 5% DUTY.

    Then Aussie will understand the worth of the Indians,and their precarious state, in the comity of nations and the comedy of the Indian State

    India CANNOT open its agri markets.Indian farmers are poor and inefficient,and Govtt agri infrastructure,is worthless.

    Let the Aussies TEST the Indian weasels on Steel – as a first step.It was the Indian Steel sector which killed the RCEP for India.With RCEP, the Indian Steel sector will be wiped out – and then the banks will follow.

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