Following the government's Wednesday announcement on the modification of the capped price regulations, the solid fuel and building material depots were swamped by crowds not seen at this time of year for decades. They are taking coal and firewood, no matter what the price, the popular news site telex.hu reports.
"In previous summers, the only beings making noise around here were the birds," Gábor Krafcsik, the manager of the biggest solid fuel and building material depot in Győr, NW Hungary told the news site. He has only experienced scenes this those in the past couple days only once in the past 30 years. That was before the turn of the millennium, when the coal supply was threatened by persistent and severe minus temperatures. "That was when so many people suddenly queued up at the depot," he recalled to the portal.
From Wednesday to Thursday, their sales turnover jumped 350%. The rush continued on Friday.
According to Telex's local correspondents, the majority are carrying 1-1.5 tons of coal, which is typically not enough for the heating season. But there was also a person who bought six tons. Price is not really an issue now.
The report says it is not easy to buy firewood in southeastern Hungarian city of Szeged, either. Two traders told the news site that they have had a lot of customers in the last two days and have sold everything at increased prices. According to one of the traders, after the new purchases, firewood prices could increase significantly. A third trader said it was worth buying wood for the winter as soon as possible, because he said there would be a shortage.
The fear is that there will also be a shortage of wood and coal in neighboring countries, and then there will be no supply for the domestic market. In Europe, the closest source of coal to Hungary is the Czech mines, which produce brown coal, but its calorific value is lower than that of black coal produced in Poland. After the Czech Republic, the next closest 'coal source' is now the port of Hamburg, which receives shipments from the U.S. and Colombia.
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