China Shenhua Energy Co, the world's second-largest coal company, rose the most in three months in Hong Kong trading after Australian producers said they may delay deliveries due to flooding.
Shenhua Energy gained six percent, while China Coal Energy Co, the nation's second-biggest coal producer, jumped 10 percent, and Indonesia's PT Bumi Resources surged eight percent.
BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, the world's biggest exporter of coking coal, said that deliveries would be delayed due to "extreme" wet weather in northeast Australia. Producers may lose at least 10 million metric tons of coal, leading to a doubling of prices, Merrill Lynch & Co said.
"Chinese coal miners like Shenhua and China Coal Energy would be the beneficiaries from the flooding in Queensland that cut coal supplies," Henry Li, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Core-Pacific Yamaichi International Ltd, told Bloomberg News. "Prices of coking coal may go up to over US$200 a ton."
Macarthur Coal Ltd, supplier of more than a third of pulverized coal used in steel making, said it may miss deliveries. Xstrata Plc, the world's largest exporter of coal used in power stations, and Rio Tinto Group said last week that heavy rain has cut production
Shenhua Energy, based in Beijing, rose HK$2.50 (32 US cents) to HK$41.80 at the close in Hong Kong on Friday. Beijing-based China Coal gained HK$1.86 to HK$20.70. Yanzhou Coal Mining Co, a unit of China's fourth-biggest coal producer, surged 13 percent, or HK$1.60, to HK$13.60.
Jakarta-based Bumi, Asia's third-largest coal producer, jumped eight percent to 5,850 rupiah (62 US cents).
"With the distribution network operating at breaking point prior to the floods, there is little or no chance of making up this lost tonnage," Merrill analysts led by Sydney-based Vicky Binns said in the report on Friday. Contract prices may surge to at least US$210 a ton starting April 1, up from US$98 a ton, the brokerage said.
Wesfarmers Ltd cut its coking coal production forecast from its Curragh mine in Queensland state by as much as 12 percent. Ensham Resources Pty, controlled by Idemitsu Kosan Co, also declared force majeure. BHP said last week that its coal mines may be disrupted for months.
Thermal coal, burnt by power plants, will average US$88 a ton for the Japanese financial year starting April 1 this year, up from a previous forecast of US$70, Macquarie Group Ltd said.
South Korea's Posco, Asia's third-biggest steel maker, plans to draw down its inventories given the missed deliveries, spokeswoman Ko Min Jin said.
China became a net importer of coal for the first time last year as demand for energy grew in line with the economy, which expanded more than 11 percent for the fourth straight quarter.
(Shanghai Daily January 28, 2008)