Et tu, Glencore? It's only a few months ago that the world's biggest commodity trader was promoting coal as - don't laugh - a viable part of global emissions-reduction plans. Now Glencore, the largest supplier of thermal coal to the international market, is promising to cap production for the foreseeable future at about current levels of 145Mt a year. The move is striking because coal made up the biggest slice of Glencore's profits in 2018 annual results published this week, and the company is one of the few diversified miners committed to the black stuff. Anglo American attempted to sell all its coal assets during its abortive restructuring in 2016, but gave up because no-one was willing to pay an acceptable price. Rio Tinto Group got rid of its last coal mines (to Glencore, no less) last year. BHP Group seems committed to its huge mines producing steelmaking coal, but appears less attached to the ones producing the thermal coal used in power generation. What's changed? One factor ...

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