An Alternative View to the Global Coal Trade: Complex Network Approach

Soyyigit Semanur 1 , Topuz Hüseyin 2  and Özekicioğlu Halil 3
  • 1 Erzincan Binali Yıldırım University, , Turkey
  • 2 Akdeniz University, , Turkey
  • 3 Akdeniz University, , Turkey


The role of energy for the developmental process of nations is a known fact due to being crucial input for any phase of production of goods and services. That’s the reason why countries that are rich in energy resources also have strategic power in terms of the international trade of these resources. On the other hand, it becomes important to provide energy security for countries that are resource-poor. Although green energy has become preferred one, fossil fuel energy keeps its place as one of the most used energy resources. That's why in this study it is aimed to determine major providers and users of coal as a type of fossil fuel energy resources. It is vital to investigate the structure of global coal trade structure to determine the weaknesses and strength of supply and use of coal. Network approach provides a holistic view to the system analyzed and presents more realistic (high-degree) indicators to analyze it. In this study, global trade network of coal is analyzed from 2000 to 2017 via network analysis. Changing structure and evolution of global coal trade has been revealed via some topological parameters which are specific to complex networks such as density, clustering, assortativity/disassortativity, centrality and degree distribution.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • An H, Zhong W, Chen Y, Li H, Gao X (2014) Features and evolution of international crude oil trade relationship: a trading-based network analysis. Energy.

  • BP (2017) BP Statistical Review of World Energy. 66th edition.

  • BP (2017) BP Statistical Review of World Energy: Coal. 66th edition.

  • Caldarelli G. Introduction to Graph Theory. Accessed 10 September 2018.

  • Chen Z, An H, Gao X, Li H, Hao X (2016) Competition Pattern of the Global Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Trade by Network Analysis. Journal of Natural Gas Science and Engineering.

  • Cheng S, Song L, Li X (2014) Evolution of spatial pattern of crude oil trade. Studies in Sociology of Science. DOI:10.3968/j.sss.1923018420140501.3995

  • Chow W (2013) An Anatomy of the World Trade Network. Aaccessed 10 September 2018.

  • Clauset A (2011) Power-Law Distributions. Inference, Models and Simulation for Complex Systems Lectures.

  • Csermely P, London A, Wu LY, Uzzi B (2013) Structure and dynamics of core/periphery networks. Journal of Complex Networks.

  • De Benedictis, Nenci S, Santoni G, Tajoli L, Vicarelli C (2013) Network Analysis of World Trade using the BACI-CEPII dataset. CEPII, Document de Travail. No.24.

  • Decarlo LT (1997) On the Meaning and the Use of Kurtosis. Psychological Methods. 2 (3), 292-307.

  • Deguchi T, Takahashi K, Takayasu H, Takayasu M (2014) Hubs and Authorities in the World Trade Network Using a Weighted HITs Algorithm. PLOSONE

  • Du R, Dong G, Tian L, Wang Y, Liu Y, Wang M, Fang G (2016) A Complex Network Perspective on Features and Evolution of World Crude Oil Trade. Energy Procedia

  • Duenas, Marco, Giorgio Fagiolo. “Modeling the International-Trade Network: A Gravity Approach” [11.01.2019]. (2011): 1-29.

  • Fagiolo G, Squartini T, Garlaschelli D (2013) Null Models of Economic Networks: The Case of the World Trade Web. Journal of Economic Interaction and Coordination


  • Fagiolo G, Reyes J, Schiavo S (2010) The Evolution of the World Trade Web: A Weighted-Network Analysis. Journal of Evolutionary Economics

  • Geng JB, Ji Q, Fan Y (2014) A Dynamic Analysis on Global Natural Gas Trade Network. Applied Energy

  • Howell, AJ (2012) Network statistics and modeling the global trade economy: exponential random graph models and latent space models: is geography dead?. Dissertation, University of California

  • Jin T, Kim J (2018) Coal Consumption and Economic Growth: Panel Cointegration and Causality Evidence from OECD and Non-OECD Countries. Sustainability DOI: 10.3390/su10030660.

  • Kleinberg JM (1999) Authoritative Sources in a Hyperlinked Environment. Journal of the ACM DOI: 10.1145/324133.324140

  • König DM, Battiston S (2009) From graph theory to models of economic networks: a tutorial. In: Naimzada AK et al. (ed) Networks, Topology and Dynamics, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 23-63.

  • Leon RC, Machado C, Sarmiento Paipilla M (2015) Identifying Central Bank Liquidity Super-Spreaders in Interbank Funds Networks. EBC Discussion Paper, 2015-010.

  • Li J, Li Z (2011) A Causlaity Analysis of Coal Consumption and Economic Growth for China and India. Natural Resources DOI: 10.4236/nr.2011.21007.

  • Newman MEJ (2010) Networks An Introduction. 1st pr. Oxford University Press.

  • Newman, M.E.J. “The Structure and Function of Complex Networks”. [11.01.2019]: 1-58.

  • Reichardt J (2009) Introduction to Complex Networks. In: Structure in Complex Networks Lecture Notes in Physics, No: 766. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 1-11.

  • Serrano A, Boguna M (2006) Clustering in Complex Networks: General Formalism. Physical Review DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.74.056114.

  • Shahbaz M, Dube S (2012) Reisiting the Relationship Between Coal Consumption and Economic Growth: Cointegration and Causality Analysis in Pakistan. Applied Econometrics and International Deelopment. 12-1, pp.165-192.

  • Tesfatsion, Leigh. “Agent-based Computational Economics: A Constructive Approach to Economic Theory”. Handbook of Computational Economics c.2. eds. K. Judd, L. Tesfatsion. North-Holland: ELSEIVER, 2006: 831-880.

  • Von Hippel P (2010) Skewness. In: Lovric M (ed) International Encyclopedia of Statistical Science. Springer, New York Accessed 10 September 2018.

  • Wang XF, Chen G (2003) Complex Networks: Small-World, Scale-Free and Beyond. IEEE Circuits and Systems Magazine DOI: 10.1109/MCAS.2003.1228503.

  • Wei W, Liu G (2012) Bringing Order to the World Trade Network. 2012 International Conference on Economics Marketing and Management, IPEDR, 28, pp. 88-92.

  • Xiaoqing H, An H, Hai Q (2014) Evolution of fossil energy international trade pattern based on complex network. Energy Procedia

  • Xu H, Qin J (2015) The Structure and Nodes’ Role of the World Coal Trade Network. Journal of Chinese Economic and Business Studies

  • Zhang Z, Lan H, Xing W (2018) Global Trade Pattern of Crude Oil and Petroleum Products: Analysis Based on Complex Network. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 153.

  • Zhong W, An H, Gao X, Sun X (2014) The evolution of communities in the international oil trade network. Physica A.

  • Zhong W, An H (2014) The role of China in the international crude oil trade network. Energy Procedia

  • Zhong W, An H, Shen L, Fang W, Gao X, Dong D (2017) The Roles of Countries in the International Fossil Fuel Trade: An Emergy and Network Analysis. Energy Policy.

  • *** (2015) China Coal Consumption Cap Plan and Research Report: Recommendations for 13th Five-Year Plan. Accessed 9 September 2018.


Journal + Issues