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New research analyses China's coal power reforms

Posted on 25/01/2011
Coal ship on the Yangtze river

Coal ship on the Yangtze

China's coal market is now in the midst of a radical restructuring that has the potential to change how coal is produced, traded and consumed both in China and the rest of the world. The plan envisages roughly half of China's coal production being produced at a handful of major coal-power base sites controlled by state-owned enterprises and central government. The study found that this enhanced central government control would mean it could control coal pricing in a large share of the market, while economies of scale could be had from increased modernization and mechanization. The study also found that China's import behaviour is a dominant factor in the price of globally traded coal, and this import behaviour is itself affected by domestic prices.


Since 2009 Dr Huaichuan Rui has been cooperating with Stanford University on a large research project entitled 'Global Coal Market'. As the lead researcher of the Chinese coal market, Dr Rui has interviewed many Chinese officials and managers in order to investigate government policy and the coal market. The report by Dr Rui, Richard K. Morse and Gang He is available from Stanford University’s website: Remaking the World's Largest Coal Market: The Quest to Develop Large Coal-Power Bases in China.

Since being online the report has been reviewed by various experts from industries, government and media including Bloomberg (14 Dec 2010) and top journal on energy reporting Platts (Volume 10 / Issue 242, December 15, 2010).


Rui, H., Morse, R. and Gang, H. (2010), “Remaking the World's Largest Coal Market: The Quest to Develop Large Coal-Power Bases in China”, Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, Stanford University


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