Coal industry: investment opportunities brought by supply-side reform
RELEASE TIME: 2019-06-27

The coal industry has experienced three historical cycles. In 2016, the supply-side reform brought cycle reversal. After a 10-year upward cycle (2002-2012) and a three-year downward cycle (2013-2015), the nationwide supply-side reform in 2016 has brought new vitality to the coal industry. The elimination of idle capacity and reduction of coal supply have led to a significant increase in coal prices since q4 2016.

The supply-side reform in 2016 produced better results than expected, and coal prices rebounded rapidly. On the supply side, coal supply side reform in 2016 removed 290 million tons of production capacity, with an annual target of 250 million tons, 16% of which exceeded the target. On the demand side, coal's main downstream power and steel industry demand growth is good. Coal prices have risen significantly since mid-2016, driven by the reversal of supply and demand. Qinhuangdao port 5500 ka thermal coal market price rose from 370 yuan/ton at the beginning of 2016 to the highest 650 yuan/ton.

In 2017, the reform of the coal supply side continued to deepen, and the replacement of new production capacity entered the fast lane. In 2017, the total target for coal supply side reform was to cut coal production capacity by 150 million tons. In the first half of this year, China cut coal production capacity by 111 million tons, 74% of the annual target. The priorities for the next 17 years will be to promote mergers and acquisitions, reduce the number of replacement, and implement effective financial policies. On the whole, due to the continuous high coal price and breaking through the green price range, coal capacity replacement has entered the fast lane since 2017.

Coal demand is expected to maintain a certain growth in the future. Based on the analysis of coal's main downstream industries, it is estimated that the coal consumption of thermal power generation in 2017-2020 will be 1.94 billion tons, 1.98 billion tons, 2.05 billion tons and 2.12 billion tons respectively. Coal consumption in the steel industry was 670 million tons, 680 million tons, 620 million tons, 610 million tons and 610 million tons respectively. Coal consumption in the building materials industry was 320 million tons, 310 million tons, 300 million tons and 300 million tons, respectively. Coal consumption in the chemical industry was 173 million tons, 178 million tons, 182 million tons and 186 million tons. Overall, coal consumption is expected to total 4.03 billion tons, 4.03 billion tons, 4.11 billion tons and 4.2 billion tons in 2017-2020.

It is expected that the coal market will maintain a high boom in 17-18, and supply and demand will gradually return to balance in 19-20. Taking into account the impact of overcapacity reduction and new capacity release, we expect China's coal output to be 3.49 billion tons, 3.60 billion tons, 3.71 billion tons and 3.82 billion tons from 2017 to 2020. Combined with the results of demand-side forecast, we believe that the coal industry will still be in short supply in 2017 and 2018, and with the gradual release of domestic coal production capacity, the relationship between coal supply and demand will gradually return to balance in 2019-2020.