Coal soars as supplies cut
COAL prices have risen to a record in Asia as flooding in Australia, power cuts in South Africa and snow storms in China restricted output, contributing to electricity shortages in the world’s fastestgrowing major economy.
Power-station coal prices at Australia’s Newcastle port, a benchmark for Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, jumped 3.9 per cent to a record $93.35 a tonne last week, according to the globalCOAL NEWC Index. The price soared 73 per cent in 2007.
Anglo American, South Africa’s secondbiggest producer, stopped five of nine mines because power supplies couldn’t be guaranteed by state utility Eskom Holdings Ltd.
In Australia, Macarthur Coal and Wesfarmers said they wouldn’t be able to meet contract supplies from some mines in Queensland after heavy rain. ‘‘ Even before these developments, spot prices for coal and coke were at record high levels,’’ Macquarie Group analysts led by Jim Lennon said in a report. ‘‘ Current price negotiations for annual contracts could be settled at much higher levels than previously thought.’’
China, which burns coal to generate 78 per cent of its electricity, ordered domestic coal shippers to halt exports after heavy snow and rail congestion shut supplies to 5 per cent of the country’s coal-fired generators. Power lines from the Three Gorges hydro-electric dam in central Hubei province were also damaged in the storms, the official Xinhua News Agency said. Bloomberg