Latin America

Colombian coal rides China’s economic rebound

Chinese coal imports from Colombia increased 124 percent last year. Can this trade trend last, given China's decarbonization plans?

coal colombia china
Employees from the local Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau collect samples at a coal dump site of Rizhao Port in China. Photo: CPRESS PHOTO LIMITED via Alamy

When Colombia announced in late 2020 that their floundering coal industry would be saved by boosted exports to China, it seemed a remote chance, at best. However, coal sales increased by 124 percent in 2021, according to Analdex, the Colombian foreign trade association. So, is China really a promising market for Colombian coal? At present, the picture is unclear.

China generated 53 percent of the world’s coal-based power last year, up from pre-pandemic levels of 50 percent in 2019, according to data from Ember Climate’s Global Electricity Review. (Though this was a small decrease on the 54 percent seen in...

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