EXPORTS of Australian coal to China rose slightly in the first half of 2018.
Analysts from Banchero Costa noted Thomson Reuters figures showing imports from Australia were estimated at 42.8 million tonnes or 34% of China’s imports in first half 2018, slightly higher compared with the 42.6m tonnes shipped during the same period in 2017.
“Following China’s ban on North Korean coal imports, overall coal and lignite shipments from Indonesia, Australia, Mongolia, and Russia saw a sharp increase in 2017,” Banchero Costa wrote.
“In the first half of 2018, imports from Indonesia have continued to surge, based on vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity Forecasts.”
Indonesian shipments to China were estimated to reach 61.8m tonnes or about 49% of Chinese imports in the first six months of 2018, up from 46.3m during the same period in 2017.
BC reported Russia had been developing new coal production centres in its Far Eastern region, as well as improving existing infrastructure connecting coal output located mostly in the country’s south to port facilities in its Far East.
BC reported long-haul US coal as being uncompetitive in the Chinese market, further disadvantaged by Chinese tariffs.
“The US is a swing supplier of coal, with exports to Asia largely dependent on price as US coal typically cost more, take longer to ship to Asia, and have a lower quality compared with Australian coal due to their high sulphur content and low heating efficiency,” BC reported.
The use of coal as an energy source has become intensely controversial as global efforts increase to cut emissions of carbon dioxide.