The Myth of China's Endless Coal Demand

A missing market for US Exports

Publication - February 27, 2013
The US coal industry - reeling from sagging domestic demand, plummeting profits, and tanking stock prices - is desperate for a new market for its wares, and it thinks it has found one in China. But in reality, the Chinese market for US coal exports may dry up before major new US coal shipments ever reach its ports.

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Several factors cast doubt on the future of Chinese demand for US coal, including new national and local policies in China aimed at reducing air pollution and capping coal use, slowing economic growth, surging renewable energy growth, and increased public concern about air pollution. Earlier US coal export proposals have failed in part because of unstable Asian demand, and the current push to export US coal by companies like Arch Coal, Cloud Peak Energy, and Australian upstart Ambre Energy are motivated by a desperate industry, not sound economics.

Endless Coal Myth