Burning bright or burned out? The outlook for coal and natural gas markets

Nov 16 20:11 2018 Print This Article

This blog is the third in a series of ten blogs on commodity market developments, elaborating on themes discussed in the latest edition of the World Bank’s Commodity Markets Outlook. Earlier blogs can be found here.

 Recent developments and outlook: coal

Coal prices rose 12 percent in the third quarter—the fifth straight quarterly increase—and are up 23 percent relative to the same quarter of 2017. Weather patterns in Asia and Europe have been the main drivers of the rise in prices. Low winter temperatures at the start of the year raised demand for fuel for heating, while unusually hot summer temperatures boosted electricity demand for air conditioning. In addition, low hydro availability and supply constraints in the two largest markets--China and India—increased coal imports.

Prices are projected to decline from current elevated levels as China is expected to reduce coal imports by stimulating domestic production, as well as by lowering the share of coal in energy consumption. Upside risks include continued strong growth in electricity demand in other emerging markets that will be met to some extent by coal. Production shortfalls in China and India could also raise import demand and support prices.

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The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world. They are not a bank in the ordinary sense but a unique partnership to reduce poverty and support development. The World Bank Group comprises five institutions managed by their member countries.

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