The price of coal fell by 200 yuan
In the first quarter of 2018, the nationwide electricity supply continued its rapid growth since the fourth quarter of last year. In stark contrast to this, coal prices have fallen all the way since the Spring Festival. The reporter found that the transaction price for the 5,500 kcal coal-fired Qinhuang port was 580 yuan/ton on April 23. On February 5th, the same coal price was at a high of 775 yuan/ton. In the past two months or so, the price of coal has been reduced by nearly 200 yuan per ton. What are the reasons?
For the coal market, the Spring Festival can be seen as an inflection point for changes in supply and demand. Industry insiders pointed out that before the Spring Festival, extreme cold weather, transport restrictions and other factors lead to coal supply. The daily consumption of major coastal power plants has been running at 800,000 tons for 4 consecutive days. It has climbed to 825,000 tons as of January 31. This year's extremum was significantly higher than during the same period, which caused great pressure on the coal supply and transportation in the coastal market. Coal prices have soared in this market and Qingang's transaction price has reached 775 yuan/ton. Market supply exceeds demand
During the Spring Festival, the factory was on holiday, the industrial power consumption dropped sharply, the daily consumption of the power plant operated at a low level, and the inventory accumulated a substantial increase. The “Spring Festival Effect” gradually appeared. At the same time, the major domestic coal companies provided normal production support during the Spring Festival period; the Daqin Line also maintained a higher level of shipments, and set a record of 1,365,900 tons of single day traffic volume on February 21, and the average daily traffic volume remained after the Spring Festival. At the high level of 1.26 million tons, the supply of coal to the Bohai Sea is effectively guaranteed.
As of February 28, Qingang coal inventories have been steadily restored to 6.2 million tons, significantly higher than the average level in previous years.
After the Spring Festival, the recovery of downstream factories did not significantly boost demand, while the inventory of the six major power plants in the coast rose to a high of more than 14 million tons, which was 4 million tons higher than in previous years; at the same time, the inventory of the four ports in the Bohai Rim remained at around 16 million tons. s level. For a period of time, the power plant will mainly consume its own inventory. At this point, the pattern of coal market oversupply basically formed.
In March, the temperature was warmer, and heating and heating demand gradually fell back. According to the March electricity data disclosed by the CEPD, the monthly electricity consumption growth slowed down in March, driving down the accumulated electricity consumption in the first quarter to 9.8% (cumulative growth of 13.3% from January to February). In April, hydropower began to work and suppressed the demand for electric coal. The coastal power plant units also entered the maintenance period. Under the combined effects of multiple factors, the off-season characteristics of the coal market became more pronounced.
Imported coal grabs market share
The reporter learned that since the middle and late February of this year, under the guidance of the policy of releasing advanced production capacity, coal mine production has been resumed, and thermal coal production has increased significantly. The data shows that from January to February 2018, the cumulative production of raw coal from Inner Mongolia, Shanxi, and Shaanxi, the main producing areas of thermal coal, respectively increased.
8.1%, 1.5%, 20.6%.
In the context of rising domestic thermal coal output and oversupply of the coal market, net imports of coal have continued to rise. The latest statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics show that in the first quarter of this year, China imported 75.41 million tons of raw coal, an increase of 16.6% year-on-year. In March alone, raw coal imports reached 26.7 million tons, an increase of 20.9%, and double-digit growth was maintained for three consecutive months.
Behind the drop in coal prices, the pull of imported coal should not be underestimated. Since late March, imported coal has always maintained a price advantage of around 50 yuan/ton, and to a certain extent, it has occupied the market share of the spot market of Bohai Rim.
It is reported that since April, domestic secondary ports and some of the first-level ports have received notifications of coal limits issued by the customs. At present, several major coal importing provinces such as Fujian, Guangdong, and Zhejiang have imposed restrictions on imported coal, which may boost the domestic coal market.
Long-term positive cash transactions are rare
In January 2017, four ministries and commissions jointly issued the “Memorandum on Suppressing Abnormal Fluctuations in the Coal Market Price”, which established an early-warning mechanism for abnormal price fluctuations based on the medium- and long-term benchmark contract prices of key coal and electric coal and steel companies. Judging from the market effect, this mechanism has played a more prominent role in the steady decline of coal prices in the first quarter.
According to reports, since the beginning of this year, the main coal enterprises have actively honored the long-term coal supply, supplying them with quality and quantity to key customers such as power plants and steel mills, and railroads and ports have organized and handled the loading and unloading; whether it is the annual long association or the monthly long association, they are all accompanied by the market. The coal price in the market is much lower, and the mainstream price of the port's 5,500 kcal coal has stabilized at a reasonably reasonable range of around 570 yuan/ton. Therefore, when the demand in the coal market is weakening, downstream users will preferentially choose to pull coal from long transporters.
The long-term positive coal exchanges have resulted in the scarcity of spot transactions and the separation of quantity and price. According to analysis by the China Coal Industry Association on the distribution of coal to and from major ports in the north, Changxie Coal accounts for more than 85% of the total. Taking the Bohai Bohai Thermal Coal Price Index from April 4th to April 10 as an example, the spot price index continues to maintain a relatively large downward range. The spot transaction volume is less than one-tenth of the port operations, and the long-term coalition accounts for the vast majority. "Separation of quantity and price" has caused disparities between the spot index and the composite index.
However, although the coal price in the market fluctuates greatly, due to the lower proportion, the overall level of coal prices has little effect, and prices remain generally stable.