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China: Coal Production Relative to Consumption and Exports

May 19, 2010
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China is a swing global consumer of Coal, and also a major producer. 

China’s coal consumption increased from 670,000 tons in 1980 to 2,800,000 tons in 2008.  China’s coal production also increased four-fold in this time, to 2,850,000 tons in 2008.

In a nod to the question Gregor MacDonald poses about US coal production to exports, the market position of China is of as much interest to global coal economics. 

The importance of China’s absolute coal consumption levels, and coal consumption growth, relative to select other countries is demonstrated graphically here.

Until 2001 China gradually increased coal exports as a proportion relative to coal production.

After that point, coal exports relative to total production declined steeply, as production continued strong growth.

China: Coal Exports relative to Coal Production

An analysis of China’s domestic coal consumption figures in the short run seem to confirm that domestic consumption may be a cause behind relative declines in exports.  However, a linear relationship between these data series is by no means apparent, as coal consumption relative to production demonstrates significant volatility.

China:  Coal Consumption relative to Coal Production


Data source: EIA Washington




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