Commodity Market Report

China coal short-term outlook April 2018: import ban prompts turnaround in thermal prices

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04 May 2018

China coal short-term outlook April 2018: import ban prompts turnaround in thermal prices

Report summary

China re-introduced its ban on coal imports at tier-2 ports on 13 April, with some tier-1 ports reportedly implementing restrictions too. The move caused a turnaround in thermal coal prices – they stopped dropping and began climbing. While the import ban is the obvious trigger of the reverse in coal prices, we believe  growing demand and lower-than-expected domestic supply have also had an influence. Metallurgical coal prices have fallen after the two sessions in mid March and there are no signs of prices stabilising. Environmental restrictions have curbed the demand for metallurgical coal and domestic supply is increasing at the same time. As are imports, especially from Mongolia. As such, we do not think the situation will change in the near term and metallurgical coal prices will remain on a downward trend. 

Table of contents

  • Executive summary
    • Thermal coal market reversing
    • Sluggish demand pulls down premium hard coking coal price
    • Thermal coal demand sees eventual recovery
    • Environmental restrictions take their toll on metallurgical coal demand
    • Coal production ramps up
    • NEA reports 4.355 Bt of coal production capacity at end of 2017

Tables and charts

This report includes 11 images and tables including:

  • Key market data
  • Key thermal coal prices – history and forecast, US$/t nominal
  • Hard coking coal price arbitrage at Tangshan steel mill, US$/t nominal
  • Demand: Image 1
  • Demand: Image 2
  • Monthly throughput at Qinhuangdao, Mt
  • Monthly throughput at Huanghua, Mt
  • Monthly hot metal production, Mt
  • Monthly metallurgical coke production, Mt
  • Thermal coal supply, Mt
  • Metallurgical coal supply, Mt

What's included

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    China coal short-term outlook April 2018: import ban prompts turnaround in thermal prices

    PDF 384.58 KB

  • Document

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    XLS 2.34 MB

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