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Commodities

Vietnam and Asia neighbors hungry for cheap coal

Demand for low-grade coal expands amid economic growth

Vietnam's steam coal imports in 2019 are estimated to total about 32 million tons, twice the amount for last year and up three times from three years ago.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- Demand for low-grade coal with lower combustion efficiency is growing amid economic growth in Vietnam and other emerging Asian countries, placing another hurdle in the global race to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While prices of high-grade coal with higher power generation efficiency have fallen by more than 30% over the past year as developed countries have been reducing coal consumption, prices of low-grade coal have fallen more slowly. The price difference between the two categories of coal has shrunk to one-third the level of a year ago.

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