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BUSINESS & TECH

What Caused China’s Coal Crunch?

A power plant discharges emissions on Dec. 1 in Taizhou, Jiangsu province. Photo: VCG
A power plant discharges emissions on Dec. 1 in Taizhou, Jiangsu province. Photo: VCG

In late January and February, China’s power producers were facing a coal crisis.

Snowfall and severe weather had caused thermal coal consumption for residential heating to remain at unusually high levels, and power companies in some parts of China saw their coal inventory fall to only two or three days’ supply — emergency levels far below the 15 days’ supply they usually try to maintain.

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