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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

China Eyes Coal, Gas Imports to Calm Power Crunch: Energy Update

China Eyes Coal, Gas Imports to Calm Power Crunch: Energy Update
© Reuters. China Eyes Coal, Gas Imports to Calm Power Crunch: Energy Update

(Bloomberg) — The world’s second-biggest economy is caught in the grips of a widening power shortage that’s threatening to stymie growth and further tangle already snarled global supply chains.

At least 17 Chinese provinces and regions making up 66% of the country’s gross domestic product have announced some form of power cuts, mostly targeted at heavy industrial users, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. The reasons are two-fold — record high coal prices are causing power generators to trim output despite soaring demand, while some areas have pro-actively halted electricity flows to meet emissions and energy intensity goals.

Here are the latest updates as China tries to bring back power to the people (All times Beijing): 

China Seeks More Natural Gas Ahead of Winter (10:01 a.m.)

Chinese utilities are accelerating efforts to secure liquefied natural gas supplies in preparation for winter.

Shenzhen Energy Group Co. is seeking two cargoes for delivery in November and December, according to traders with knowledge of the matter. Several other Chinese importers have jumped into the spot market to secure supplies of the industrial and home-heating fuel.

Asian LNG prices have surged to a seasonal record as the region’s importers compete with European rivals for finite supplies. Sinopec (NYSE:SHI) purchased more than a dozen shipments last week for winter delivery, which may have triggered panic buying from other Chinese importers as they scramble to secure supply before spot rates rise further.

Province Suffering Blackouts Aims to Boost Coal Imports (9 a.m.)

China’s Jilin province, which suffered blackouts over the weekend, said it will seek more coal import quotas and try to boost shipments from Russia, Indonesia and Mongolia.

The local government of the northeastern province said coal miners must produce at full capacity, while financial institutions will offer reduced interest loans to power plants in order to ensure supplies of the fuel for power and heating this winter.

Fertilizer Maker Fined for Raising Prices Amid Energy Crunch (8:30 a.m.)

As an energy crunch bites, Beijing is increasing scrutiny of the fertilizer market, where many domestic producers use coal as a feedstock. The top economic planner said fertilizers are important for maintaining food security and that efforts must be made to ensure stable prices and supply. In a sign of the clampdown, Chinese state-owned fertilizer maker Qinghai Salt Lake Industry Co. was fined 1.6 million yuan ($250,000) for hiking prices.

Chinese Media Say Steps Being Taken to Cool Market (7:22 a.m.)

China may adopt measures to try to cool sky-high coal prices and ease the power shortage, according to reports from local media.

The Economic Information Daily reported that authorities are taking measures to ensure power production and avoid cuts, with experts calling for incentives to make generators produce electricity. The Global Times reported that China may adopt unidentified actions to cool off coal prices.

Power-plant coal futures in China jumped to a record yesterday. Most Chinese power plants sell electricity at regulated rates, leading to some generators deciding to cut output instead of producing power at a loss amid the soaring coal prices. 

Goldman Cuts China’s GDP Forecast Amid Shortages (6:52 a.m.)

Goldman Sachs Group Inc (NYSE:GS). economists lowered their forecast economic growth for China this year because of recent sharp cuts to production in a range of high-energy-intensity industries.

The bank cut its forecast for 2021 economic growth to 7.8% from 8.2% and for 2022 to 5.5%. The bank joined Nomura Holdings (NYSE:NMR) Inc., China International Capital Corp. and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) in either downgraded GDP growth forecasts or warning of lower growth because of the power disruptions.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Source: Investing.com

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