World re-entering the coal age – IEA
Global coal demand could reach 8 billion tons in 2022, matching a historic high set in 2013, and further growing in 2023, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a coal market update report published on Thursday.
“Based on current economic and market trends, global coal consumption is forecast to rise by 0.7% in 2022 to 8 billion tons, assuming the Chinese economy recovers as expected in the second half of the year... This global total would match the annual record set in 2013, and coal demand is likely to increase further next year to a new all-time high,” the report states.
According to the agency, demand is being driven up by rising natural gas prices, forcing many countries to increasingly switch from gas to coal and reopen previously closed coal-fired power plants.
The report states that China, which is “responsible for more than half of global coal consumption,” will be the main driver for the growth in demand in the second half of 2022, despite seeing demand drop by 3% in the first half of the year.
Demand for coal in India is also expected to rise due to the country’s economic growth and more widespread use of electricity. The EU is also forecast to contribute to demand, as it is increasingly turning to coal in electricity production to replace gas or save it for the winter due to the decline in Russian gas imports.
The IEA adds that the coal markets will remain volatile in 2023, especially after the EU coal embargo comes into effect, and prices may continue to grow well into next year.
“As soaring natural gas prices have made coal more competitive in many markets, international coal prices have risen in turn, hitting three all-time peaks between October 2021 and May 2022. Sanctions and bans on Russian coal have disrupted markets, and issues in other major exporters have contributed to supply shortages. With other coal producers facing constraints in replacing Russian output, prices on coal futures markets indicate that tight market conditions are expected to continue well into next year and beyond,” the IEA states.
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