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Rise in global met coal trade forecast as US exports slide

Keywords: Tags  metallurgical coal, coal trade, BHP Billiton, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metals, Australia Bureau of Resources and Energy, Daisy Tseng

SINGAPORE — U.S. metallurgical coal exports are on course to decline next year while global trade is forecast to rise due to "strong import growth in China and India," Australia’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics said in a report Wednesday.

Global trade in metallurgical coal is expected to increase 5 percent to 286 million tonnes, which would be on top of the 5-percent increase anticipated for 2012, according to the report.

U.S. exports are estimated to reach 54 million tonnes in 2013, down 5 percent from this year, while Australia is expected to see an 11-percent increase in exports during 2013 to 161 million tonnes, underpinned by increased production from BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance mines.

On the import front, China’s metallurgical coal intake is forecast to grow 19 percent to 58 million tonnes in 2013, while India is expected to see a 16-percent increase to 26 million tonnes, the report stated.

However, the premium hard coking coal benchmark price is expected to average $171 per tonne f.o.b. Australia in 2013, down from $210 per tonne this year.

Last week, BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance and Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metals Corp. settled the first-quarter contract price at $165 per tonne f.o.b. Australia, down $5 from the price seen earlier in the quarter.

Japan and South Korea next year are expected to import 55 million tonnes and 34 million tonnes of metallurgical coal, respectively, up slightly from the 54 million tonnes and 33 million tonnes forecast for 2012.

European Union imports are expected to remain unchanged at around 46 million tonnes in 2012 and 2013, the report said.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.

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