In recent weeks, the super-power has placed extreme restrictions on many Australian industries, including wine, timber, barley and lobster.
Aussie coal has also been officially banned since October, with steel mills and power plants reportedly being ordered to stay away.
It also emerged that more than 60 ships carrying thermal and coking coal were stranded off the coast of China, unable to unload almost $700 million worth of Australian goods.
Some have been in limbo for months, with ABC citing suggestions that environmental quality issues have been blamed for the delay.
The harsh tactics have caused the price of Australia’s hard-coking coal premium to plunge by 22 per cent since October, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison blasting the informal ban on coal as a “breach to WTO rules” and “obviously in breach of our own free trade agreement.”
But it turns out that the decision still has significant implications for the communist state.
According to The Australian, power shortages are on the rise in China, with millions of people rationing their heating during the winter and restricting the use of elevators.
“You cannot pretend that bad relations between China and Australia have not contributed to this situation,” said the Chinese energy insider.
Last year, Australia supplied more than half of China’s imports of thermal coal to power stations and more than 40% of the nation’s imports of coking coal.
According to Garda World, the world’s largest private security services organisation providing business solutions, energy shortages are expected to impact parts of the provinces of Hunan, Jiangxi and Zhejiang by early February 2021.
This could lead to temporary commercial and communications disturbances, including cell phones, as well as traffic disruptions caused by malfunctioning traffic signals and train delays due to impacted signalling systems or overhead wires.
Supply chains and critical facilities, such as ATMs and gas stations, may also be affected, with officials forcing a variety of factories to work during off-peak hours only.
Earlier this month, the price of coking coal in China rose to a four-year high, with analysts at the Chinese financial information platform Hexun Futures believing that restrictions on Australian coal were a contributing factor.
As a result, China had to purchase coal from Canada, which is one of the only viable choices left – and lack of competition almost instantly led to higher prices.
The South China Morning Post also notes that coal prices have risen to a level not seen since May last year since October,” with the Chinese National Reform Development Commission’s spokeswoman saying, “We have seen coal prices rise recently and this has caused widespread concern in society.”
The publication reported that import restrictions helped push up the price of coal, with imports falling 15 per cent in November from the back of the Australian and Indonesian coal restrictions, according to the Trading Economics report.