(Bloomberg) -- Global coal-power capacity rose to a record last year, led by a surge in new plants in China and a slowdown in retirements around the world, according to a new report from Global Energy Monitor. 

The world’s coal fleet grew by 2% to 2,130 gigawatts, with China accounting for about two thirds of the increase followed by Indonesia and India, according to the climate research firm. China also started construction on 70 gigawatts of new coal plants last year, nearly 20 times more than the rest of the world combined.

China’s expansion of what’s already by far the world’s largest coal fleet highlights Beijing’s continued focus on energy security after a series of economy-damaging power shortages in 2021 and 2022. While officials say the plants will primarily be used to balance out intermittent generation from rapidly growing wind and solar farms, the building boom has raised questions about China’s climate commitments and stymied global efforts to phase out use of the dirtiest fossil fuel.

“The recent surge in coal power development in China starkly contrasts with the global trend, putting China’s 2025 climate targets at risk,” said Qi Qin, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, which contributed to the report. 

Read more: Coal, the Dirtiest Fossil Fuel, Prepares for a Long Goodbye

China added over 47 gigawatts of new coal plants last year and retired only 3.7 gigawatts, according to the report. Indonesia added 5.9 gigawatts of plants, including several to power its burgeoning metals processing industry, while India increased its capacity by 5.5 gigawatts.

Global capacity outside of China increased for the first time since 2019, spurred in part by the fewest retirements of coal plants in more than a decade. 

On the Wire

Chinese investors are snapping up stocks tied to high-flying metals from copper to gold, aiding an onshore market facing an uphill battle to cement a nascent rebound.

China’s trade data for March are likely to show slower headline growth in exports, according to Bloomberg Economics.

Improving relations between Beijing and Canberra are brightening the outlook for Australian stocks that have faced trade restrictions, with winemakers and some agricultural sectors seen as major beneficiaries.

A Chinese-owned copper mine in Peru that has endured recurrent road blockades by local communities is facing fresh disruptions for the first time in a year. 

The Week’s Diary

Thursday, Thursday April 11:

  • China inflation data for March, 09:30
  • China to release March aggregate financing & money supply by April 15
  • China’s monthly CASDE crop supply-demand report

Friday, April 12:

  • China’s 1st batch of March trade data, including steel, aluminum & rare earth exports; steel, iron ore & copper imports; soybean, edible oil, rubber and meat & offal imports; oil, gas & coal imports; oil products imports & exports. ~11:00
  • China weekly iron ore port stockpiles
  • Shanghai exchange weekly commodities inventory, ~15:30

(Updates with published items and diary)

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