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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        7  May 2011

Berau Coal deal with Chinese firms

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Berau Coal, one of the country’s largest coal miners, has signed sales contracts with two Chinese companies as it tries to meet growing demand from China, a company official said on Friday.

Bob Kamandanu, Berau’s commissioner and the chairman of the Indonesian Coal Mining Association (APBI), said Berau signed a five-year deal with Huaneng Power International and a three-year contract with Zhushui Energy Resource Group. It will sell 1.5 million tons of coal annually to each company.

“Coal demand from China is growing significantly, and Chinese companies are mainly looking for long-term contracts,” Kamandanu said on Friday.

Huaneng Power is China’s largest electricity producer, while Zhushui focuses on coal imports.

Indonesia’s coal output is expected to climb this quarter after wet weather in the first quarter saw it drop to 89 million tons. Kamandanu said output should increase to 95 million tons in the second quarter before falling back to 85 million tons in the following two quarters.

The dry season is expected to start in most areas in Indonesia around May or June, offering a timely boost to the country’s agricultural and mineral sectors.

“Higher production would go into the export market, but the weather has been very unpredictable over the past few years so it’s hard to say if there will be enough dry months ahead for miners to be able to ramp up production,” a Singapore-based trader said.

Global coal prices only saw a limited sell-off this week despite a rout in other commodities, and the market’s strength is backed up by producers and traders saying rising output from Indonesia, the world’s top thermal coal exporter, is being soaked up by India and China.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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