Despite public calls in many countries for reducing reliance on coal as a primary but high-carbon energy source, global demand continues to escalate. Coal has traditionally been seen as a low-cost and price-stable source of energy, but recently coal prices have increased and become much more volatile. Moreover, while coal is viewed as a very secure energy source, infrastructure bottlenecks and weather-related events can dramatically tighten the market.
This new annual IEA publication, Medium-Term Coal Market Report 2011, presents a comprehensive analysis of recent trends in coal demand, supply and trade, as well as an IEA outlook for coal market fundamentals for the coming five years. The report places a special focus on trade and infrastructure development in the key exporting countries. Given the existing uncertainties on the production capacity of China to meet its challenging coal demand growth, the book presents two scenarios for coal trade: a high and a low Chinese production outlook. This comparison highlights the massive influence of Chinese behaviour on the international coal trade.