La depressione economica indotta dal coronavirus e lo shock petrolifero, unitamente a dollaro forte e valute dei paesi estrattori deboli, spingono verso un maggiore utilizzo del carbone fossile.
A parte ancora qualche cascame politico nell’Unione Europea, i progetti di decarbonizzazione stanno evidenziano il loro punto debole: costi troppo alti per potersi permettere quel lusso, in un momento in cui tutte le risorse sono utilizzate per cercare di bloccare gli effetti della pandemia.
Tutti questi elementi concorrono a formulare la previsione che, quanto meno, la sua produzione e costi resteranno quasi inalterati, ma anche probabilmente incrementati per sopperire le esigenze energetiche.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken energy markets to the core this year, creating incredible volatility for fuel prices. The one energy source that hasn’t blinked though is coal, a fuel that may come out stronger through the current crisis, a Rystad Energy analysis shows.
The price of coal was already depressed before the corona virus crisis, and the demand curtailment in China during the lockdowns was accompanied by a domestic production drop, balancing the market. Oil, which is used as a fuel in coal mining, has grown cheaper and is seen by Rystad Energy as reducing coal output costs by a few dollars per ton.
“With ARA prices already so low, any cost decrease will potentially give struggling producers selling to Europe a little breathing room, rather than allowing prices to move down any further,” says Steve Hulton, Rystad Energy’s Head of Global coal research.
The large falls in the currency of the major coal exporting countries like Australia and Russia is a significant, but often overlooked factor with regards to coal prices and margins. In mid-March, the Australian dollar hit a 17-year low as international investors sought the traditional safety of US dollars; the Russian ruble has also reached new record lows due to the collapsing oil price.
International coal trades are priced in US dollars, whereas the majority of production costs are generally denominated in local currency terms. Therefore, a weaker exchange rate versus the US dollar usually means higher local currency revenues (or lower costs when converted to US dollars).