COAL trade in the Pacific basin has been “generally positive” this year, benefiting exporters from both Australia and Indonesia, analysts Banchero Costa say.

During the first nine months of 2019, Australia exported 290.6m tonnes of coal (metallurgical and thermal). This was 3.5% up year-on-year.

Australia’s monthly export of coal fluctuated from the 26.3m tonnes in February2019 to the 37.3m tonnes in June 2019.

The destinations of these cargoes didn’t change dramatically, although some shifts were reported.

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Shipments from Australia to China and South Korea kept growing this year, while volumes to Japan and India fell.

During the first nine months of 2019, Australia sent 66.6m tonnes of coal to mainland China, 3.35 year-on-year.

China was the destination of 22.9% of Australia’s coal shipments this year.

Another 24.8m tonnes of coal were shipped to Taiwan, which was an increase of 1.2% year-on-year, with Taiwan accounting for 8.5% of Australia coal export volumes this year.

During the same period, 35.9m tonnes of coal were shipped from Australia to South Korea, up 9.4% year-on-year, as Australia gained market share there. South Korea was the destination of 12.4% of Australia’s coal exports.

During the first nine months of 2019, Australia sent 79.2m tonnes of coal to Japan, down 4.7% year-on-year. Japan is the top destination for Australian coal, and was the destination of 27.2% of Australia’s coal shipments this year.

Australia was reported to have lost market share in India to Indonesian competition, despite stronger overall Indian coal demand.

“So far this year, Australian was the source of just 21% of India’s coal imports, against Indonesia’s 43% share,” BC reported. Of the total coal volumes exported so far this year by Australia, about 38% were shipped on Capesize or Newcastlemax vessels, about 7% on post-Panamax or minicape units, 46% on Panamax vessels, and less than 10% on supramax or handymaxvessels.

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