If I am correct, Chinese demand of coal and the integration of global coal markets may allow (and will cause) the organization of a coal cartel and a dramatic rise in coal's price. And coal mining and transporting stock (Remember: Buffet has acquired most of American coal transport infrastructure). The Oil Drum blog publishes an astonishing (for me) article on the subject:
Until recently, coal has been a resource used mostly in the country of origin. Internationally traded coal was a fairly small percentage of the total amount consumed globally—a situation quite different from that with oil, over half of which is exported from the country of origin. However, there is an increasing trend toward the development of an integrated global coal market—and it appears that trend is about to go into overdrive.I dont buy the article's conclusion, which is that economic growth has to be stopped. Not that anyone can stop 1.5 billion Chinese's desire to live in an apartment with central heating. Winter is cold in Northern China and most houses are not heated.
This means that if Chinese and Indian demand for coal imports pushes up the price for export coal (as it almost certainly will, and probably quite dramatically), the result will be higher coal prices everywhere—even within nations that are self-sufficient in the resource. After all, if a coal mining company in the U.S. can get twice the price for its product by selling it abroad as opposed to selling it domestically, won't it opt to export? Unless governments implement export curbs or domestic price caps, the international export price of coal will end up being the domestic price for countries everywhere.