The total stockpile of thermal coal held by China’s six major power-generation groups stands at just 11.31 million tonnes, an amount capable of meeting demand for just 15 days, reports the South China Morning Post. The inventory of coal-fired power plants in most parts of the country should, in principle, be no less than 20 days’ worth of coal consumption during the off-season, including now, according to China’s top economic planner, Sinolink Securities.
It also estimates that, from September to February, China will need 1.85 billion tonnes of thermal coal, but projections indicate it will fall short by 222 million to 344 million tonnes, about 12 to 19% less than is needed.
The analysis comes as the world’s second-largest economy is suffering its worst power blackouts in a decade. State media reported on Tuesday that at least 20 out of 31 provincial jurisdictions – from industrial powerhouses in the south such as Guangdong to the rust belt in the northeast – have rolled out electricity-rationing measures in recent weeks, triggering widespread alarm among much of the population and plunging the nation’s industrial sector into chaos.