Breakingviews

Court order adds urgency to India’s coal crunch

August 26, 2014

The Supreme Court has ruled the practice of allocating coal mines to metal and power companies to be illegal. In the long run, transparent auctions will be better. But the verdict will force the government to find a timely solution to an acute coal shortage that may now worsen.

Stanford’s snub to coal typical of Silicon Valley

May 8, 2014

The black rock is an easy target for the university’s $18.7 bln endowment. Yet shouldn’t the principle behind it apply equally to oil producers, even local titan and Stanford donor Chevron? Like some of its grads, the university seems willing to shun certain evils only so far.

Smog obscures looming water risk for China

February 4, 2014

Bad air is visible, and vexes the urban rich. But recent attempts to fix China’s airpocalypse may exacerbate another acute risk: water. Thirsty energy companies and consumers may not see the threat just yet; they will if policy and price changes pull the plug on cheap supply.

Fog of Bumi’s battles may be just too tiresome

January 22, 2013

Bumi minorities are ill-served by open conflict between the coal miner’s board, its founder Nat Rothschild and Indonesia’s Bakrie clan. News on a probe into Bumi’s Indonesian operations does nothing to clear the air. With shares well up on the nadir, the exit beckons.

Coal’s ascendancy to leave ailing U.S. miners in pit

December 28, 2012

The black rock is set to replace oil as the world’s top energy source within five years. America sits on 28 pct of the planet’s coal. But geriatric mines and poor transport will prevent the U.S. industry profiting from the boom. Australian and Indonesian miners are better placed.

Corporate carbon bubble may start to deflate

December 12, 2012

Science points to the potential for climate shocks in burning through just current proven oil, gas and coal reserves. Stock-market valuations of miners and oil groups don’t reflect the risk of a policy response. In 2013, investors may wake up to a carbon-constrained future.

Bumi should grit teeth and engage with Bakries

October 11, 2012

The troubled acquisition vehicle has a rescue bid of sorts from its Indonesian backers. The Bakries would cancel their holding in return for a stake in coal assets they sold to Bumi last year. It’s awkward in every sense. But the Bumi board has to maximize value and should talk.

Coal’s slide poses broader risks for Indonesia

September 11, 2012

It’s the biggest exporter of coal for electricity, but coal accounts for only 4.4 pct of GDP. The bigger worry is that falling exports spook foreign investors, undermine a provincial boom, and hurt poor workers. With elections looming, that could ratchet up nationalist rhetoric.

Public investors lose in Mongol mining battle

August 10, 2012

The nomad state seems set on sinking Chinese state firm Chalco’s bid for coal miner SouthGobi. Wild as Mongolia is, a compromise is conceivable. All sides could come away with something, except for investors who bought SouthGobi shares when they were double their current value.

Declining U.S. coal still has bright spots

March 19, 2012

You wouldn’t know it: coal’s share of U.S. power generation has dipped below 40 pct for the first time since 1978. Cheap gas and tougher pollution rules should extend the trend. But investors can still make winning bets if they plan for the industry’s decline.