Summary

The coal market doubled in size in 10 years. However, most of this growth is related to China, which today represents almost half of global production, far ahead of the rest of the world. The growth in production in China has represented 71% of the total world coal production in the last 10 years. China supported its economic development by doubling its coal production capacity. Now, China produces 96% of its own consumption, ten points less than a decade ago. This situation should continue to worsen in the coming 20 years and China will not be able to continue to support the development of its industry and of its electricity production with coal only. The country thus needs to look for alternative energy resources. The rest of Asia is also extremely dependent upon coal. Although the coal market seems smaller than the oil market, coal has a significant role in the energy mix worldwide. Indeed, coal production corresponds to 95% of oil production. The market is simply more local and more fragmented than the oil market. Coal is being used to produce electricity, and therefore should strongly benefit in the decades to come from the large increase of electricity demand, notably in Asia. The increase in electricity production should represent 70% of the growth of coal production in the next 20 years. Coal production can thus be expected to continue to grow, as it supports the economic transition of the new economies. It should however grow at a much slower pace in the coming years than what it used to, due to growing alternatives such as natural gas and renewable energies.

 
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