Beijing’s trade war with Australia spectacularly backfires as China is plagued by electricity woes plunging millions into darkness – after it refused delivery of $1billion of Aussie coal. By Shive Prema.
Millions of Chinese residents have been left without heating in the middle of winter as cities ration electricity amid a blockade on Australian coal.
Australia provided 57 per cent of China’s thermal coal imports in 2019, which is used to generate electricity in power stations.
But last month, Beijing blocked Australian coal imports, which has resulted in 80 ships carrying more than $1.1billion in blacklisted cargo being stranded off the Chinese coast.
Chinese coal prices were 500 yuan ($100) last month but increased 760 yuan ($153) per tonne on Wednesday, which has now resulted in restrictions on power use for millions of residents, according to South China Morning Post.
Some 57 million people live in Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, on China’s east coast, and have been besieged by power shortages resulting in electricity being shut off.
The Zhejiang provincial government has now ordered offices to only use heating when the temperature drops below 3C and restaurants to only use air conditioning for diners, rather than staff, in the city of Wenzhou from December 11 to 20.
Small to medium sized factories have reportedly been ordered to halt production for one to two days after operating for two days between December 13 and 30. …
A Chinese energy industry source told the newspaper: ‘You cannot pretend that bad relations between China and Australia haven’t contributed to this situation.‘
The Chinese Government would surely have known that before knocking back our coal. So why did they do it? David Archibald suggests a reason here.