28 Sep '12, 4pm

Chinese economic slowdown means less demand for American coal

[T]he Chinese economy is slowing and so is its steel industry. That has sent the price of coal used for steelmaking down nearly 50% to $170 a metric ton. Those coal producers who counted on Chinese sales are reeling. … While many have blamed the downturn in the U.S. coal industry on cheap natural gas supplanting coal and tougher environmental regulations, the slide in metallurgical coal demand has been equally devastating. Coal companies were caught flat-footed after ramping up production last year with the expectation that steep prices would cover their rising costs, despite coal’s past cyclicality. Instead, demand in China began to falter just as Australian metallurgical coal production — interrupted by floods last year — surged back into the market. … China’s metallurgical coal imports dropped to 2.6 million metric tons in August, from an average of 4.5 million metric t...

Full article: http://grist.org/news/chinese-economic-slowdown-means-les...

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