Future tense: Fastest-growing market Asia rethinks coal’s prospects

NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) – After riding China’s demand train for nearly two decades, Asia’s coal industry is looking to a future of smaller markets and slimmer pickings, as buying declines in the world’s second-biggest economy and climate change concerns blunt demand. By far the biggest user of coal-fired power, China is buying less thermal coal from global markets, said delegates to Asia’s premier coal conference last month in Bali, both as renewables gain market share and as it digs up more of its own supply. A backlash against coal is also growing in the West. Last week, investors managing nearly half the world’s invested capital demanded ahead of a Group of 20 summit in Osaka that governments take urgent action on climate change. Delegates to Coaltrans in Bali, Indonesia, however, said that while coal’s glory days are done, reports of its imminent demise have been greatly exaggerated. “Coal will continue to provide low-cost energy. We are looking at increasing demand in Southeast Asia, so we are still positive,” said Hendri Tan, marketing director at PT Adaro Indonesia, a unit of PT Adaro Energy, Indonesia’s second-biggest coal producer. Indonesia is the world’s biggest exporter of thermal coal, used primarily for… continue reading

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