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Asia powers demand for thermal coal

来源:FT中文网    2018-01-09 13:36

        Thermal coal, the least loved major commodity, has jumped to its highest level since late 2016 as strong manufacturing activity in Asia and appetite from China drives demand.        作为“最不受钟爱的大宗商品”,动力煤的价格已跃升至2016年末以来的最高水平,原因是亚洲强劲的制造业活动和中国的胃口推高了需求。
        Thermal coal is burnt to generate electricity, and is a big source of income for miners such as Glencore, Whitehaven and Yancoal, which produce material for the seaborne market. While the fossil fuel is being phased out in Europe on environmental grounds, it still accounts for about 40 per cent of energy consumption in emerging markets.        动力煤被用于燃烧发电,是嘉能可(Glencore)、Whitehaven、兖煤澳洲(Yancoal)等矿商的一大收入来源,这些企业生产的动力煤主要通过海路运输。出于环保考虑,这种化石燃料在欧洲正逐渐被淘汰,但它在新兴市场的能源消费中仍占到40%左右。
        Its fortunes are therefore closely tied to manufacturing activity and the global economy, which most forecasters believe is enjoying the strongest period of expansion since the financial crisis. Indeed, coal-fired power generation rose in most of Asia’s major economies last year, boosting demand, according to BMO Capital Markets.        因此,动力煤市场的走势与制造业活动和全球经济息息相关——多数预测者都认为,全球经济正处于金融危机以来最强劲的扩张时期。实际上,蒙特利尔银行资本市场(BMO Capital Markets)的数据显示,去年亚洲大部分主要经济体的燃煤发电量都有所增加,提振了动力煤需求。
        “Thermal coal — once again it is powering Asian growth and urbanisation,” said Glencore’s chief executive Ivan Glasenberg. “It’s another commodity where there’s been under-investment over the years.”        “动力煤——再一次推动着亚洲的增长和城市化,”嘉能可首席执行官伊万•格拉森伯格(Ivan Glasenberg)表示,“这是另一种多年来投资不足的大宗商品。”
        Australian coal with an energy content of 6,000 kcal/kg — benchmark for the vast Asia market — is trading at $103 a tonne, according to a price assessment from Argus Media. Six months ago it was just above $80 a tonne.        阿格斯传媒(Argus Media)的价格评估显示,每千克6000大卡的澳洲动力煤(亚洲市场的基准动力煤)目前的价格为每吨103美元。而6个月前,其价格仅略高于每吨80美元。
        On the supply side, big new thermal coal mines are not in the works and projects are becoming more difficult to finance as banks and investors fret about their environmental credentials. This has helped tighten the market and drive up prices.        动力煤供应方面,目前没有新的大型煤矿处于计划开采阶段,这一领域的项目越来越难获得融资,因为银行和投资者担心此类项目达不到环保要求。这加剧了供应紧缺,推高了价格。
        Of the new tonnes that are entering the market, traders say much of this is lower quality material from Indonesia that does not have a high calorific value and is not favoured by big utility companies in Asia. As well as the strength of the Asia industrial cycle, other factors have helped boost thermal coal prices across the region, analysts say.        对于新进入市场的动力煤,交易商表示,其中很大一部分是来自印度尼西亚的品位较低、热值较低的煤炭,并不受亚洲大型公用事业公司的青睐。分析师表示,除了亚洲工业周期强劲以外,还有其他一些因素也帮助推动了整个地区动力煤价格上涨。
        China is allowing more coal-fired power generation this winter because of gas shortages and has loosened import restrictions. Domestic production in India has yet to pick up meaningfully, forcing it to buy from overseas and there is heavy congestion at ports in Australia, one of the world’s biggest suppliers.        由于天然气短缺,中国今年冬季允许进行更多的燃煤发电,并放松了进口限制。印度国内的煤炭开采并未实现切实的增长,迫使其从海外购买煤炭。澳大利亚各港口出现严重拥堵,它是全球最大的煤炭供应国之一。
        “Supply is still very tight, probably not going to catch up with demand easily in January and February,” said Shirley Zhang, principal analyst at Wood Mackenzie.        Wood Mackenzie首席分析师Shirley Zhang表示:“供应仍然非常紧张,可能在1月和2月都不大容易赶上需求。”
        Traders reckon thermal coal could remain about $100 a tonne ahead of the annual contract negotiations between Japanese utility companies and Australian producers, which are usually led by Tohoku Electric Power and Glencore respectively.        交易商认为,在日本公用事业公司与澳大利亚生产商——通常分别由日本东北电力公司(Tohoku Electric Power)和嘉能可牵头——进行年度合同谈判之前,动力煤的价格可能将保持在每吨100美元左右。
        The April-March contracts historically accounted for up to half of Japan’s annual thermal coal imports. While that figure has fallen they are still used as a benchmark across the region by other consumers.        按照惯例,4月至次年3月的年度合同最高会占到日本年度动力煤进口的一半左右。虽然这一数字已经有所下降,但这些合同仍会被其他客户奉为整个地区的参照基准。
        Japanese power utilities typically pay a premium to secure supplies from Australia on long-term contracts because the coal works well in their boilers and meets environmental controls.        在这种长期合同中,日本电力公司通常会支付更优越的价格,以确保获得来自澳大利亚的供应,因为动力煤在他们的锅炉中燃烧较为充分,符合环境控制要求。
        Last year the contracts were settled at $85 when the prevailing price was roughly $77. A price of $90 this year would deliver a big windfall for Glencore, which produces coal at $48 a tonne.        去年,这些合同的签约价格为每吨85美元,而当时主流的价格大约是每吨77美元。今年合同价如果定在每吨90美元,将为嘉能可带来更多收入,该公司的煤炭生产成本为每吨48美元。
        Over the long-term, analysts say coal faces significant headwinds, not least in China where the government wants to replace coal-fired boilers and more widely the huge falls in the cost of renewable energy.        分析师表示,长期来看,煤炭面临着很大的不利因素,在中国,政府希望将燃煤锅炉替换掉,况且从更大的范围来说,可再生能源的成本已大幅下降。

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