Metals News
Northern China Ports Remain Shut, Whipped by High Winds
data analysis
Jan 20,2010

SHANGHAI, Jan. 20 -- China's top coal-shipping port Qinhuangdao and several other northern Chinese ports failed to resume operations on Wednesday, after a cold front lifted a 2-day fog but brought high winds.

Coal shortages have led to reduced electricity supplies in parts of central and southwest China, causing some smelters and other plants to cut output, the State Grid Corp of China (SGCC) and others have said.

Some analysts on Wednesday predicted that if shipments don't resume soon, coal supplies along the coast will be further constrained and prices will be pushed up.

"Qinhuangdao port operations are still down, not because of fog but heavy wind," said a source familiar with the situation there.

"Other ports are probably encountering the same problem."

The National Meteorological Center forecast 9-grade winds, roughly 80 kilometres per hour, would continue through Wednesday night in the Bohai Bay, northern and central Yellow Sea areas.

Operation at ports in the region, including Tangshan and Caofeidian, have been halted since Monday when foggy weather blanketed the region.

Coal stocks at Qinhuangdao had gone up 14 percent in the past two days to 6.5 million tonnes, according to port data on, an industry information website.

Qinhuangdao shipped out an average 669,000 tonnes of coal per day in the week ended on Monday, but only shipped out 260,000 tonnes in the 24 hours ended on Tuesday morning, according to the latest data.

"If the shipping cannot resume at ports, it may exacerbate the coal shortages and push up prices of the hydrocarbon," said an analyst at a large state-owned securities firm, who declined to be named.

As of Monday, spot coal prices at Qinhuangdao were unchanged from a week earlier, with coal with calorific value of 5,800 kcal/kg (NAR) priced at 840 yuan to 850 yuan ($123 - $124.5) a tonne, according to the Qinhuangdao Seaborne Coal Market (


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