According to official statistics, the pile at Qinhuangdao was started in May. On June 18, coal inventories at this port hit 9.46 mt, the highest level since November 2008.

At the port of Tangshan, which is also strategically located in Hebei in order to transport coal from northern to southern China, the coal inventory on June 25 totaled 8.1 million mt just shy of the maximum volume of 8.7 million mt.

The slowdown in domestic economic growth, which reduced demand for thermal coal in China, caused overcapacity in coal’s downstream industries, including the steel, cement, electricity and real estate industries. The southern parts of China have seen plenty of rainfall this year, hydropower generation output has increased. Meanwhile, in the eastern areas of China, natural gas has been used for generating electricity, another factor trimming thermal coal demand.

According to statistics from the National Energy Administration, China’s power consumption in the first five months of this year was 1.96 trillion kilowatt hours up by 5.8% year-on-year, but the growth rate fell 6.2% percentage points from the same period of last year.