Coal Stocks at China’s Coastal Plants

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China’s top six coastal power utilities see declines in coal use, stocks

China’s six major coastal power utilities saw drops in both coal consumption and stocks, due mainly to decreased power consumption and adverse weather conditions.

As of August 20, the six utilities’ thermal coal stocks totaled 14.62 million tonnes, dipping below the 15-million-tonne mark for fifth straight day, showed data from industry portal sxcoal.com.

It was 566,000 tonnes or 3.7% lower than the month-ago level and the lowest since June 26 this year, according to the data.

Shanghai Electric Power Co., Ltd and Datang Group posted the sharpest decline, with stocks slumping 45.9% and 25% from the preceding month to 165,000 tonnes and 1.05 million tonnes on August 20.

Analysts pointed out the temporary fall of stocks was not because of utilities’ destocking activities but shipping delay of vessels bound for northern ports amid adverse weather at the Bohai-rim ports.

The landing of typhoon in coastal regions has impeded prevented ships from berthing at ports. Analysts expected coal stocks to recover to above 15 million tonnes again after the adverse weather.

With increased rainfalls in South China, major coastal power producers saw their daily coal burns fall below 800,000 tonnes. The decline of power demand from households amid cooling weather further dented the spot coal market.

Coal-fired power plants are expected to mainly rely on term contract coal to meet their demand, pointing to a weaker spot market in the short run.

On August 20, the six power generators’ daily coal burns stood at 741,000 tonnes, staying below the 800,000-tonne mark for sixth consecutive day, down by 6.4% from a month earlier.

Their stocks could cover 19.7 days of use, up by 0.5 day on the month.

Coal stocks at key utilities nationwide dropped to 68.67 million tonnes as of August 5, down by 8.7% from July 2, which was enough to cover 16 days, down 4 days.

(Source: SX Coal / sxcoal.com )