Commodity Market Report

China coal short-term outlook January 2021: QHD price reaches record high

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03 February 2021

China coal short-term outlook January 2021: QHD price reaches record high

Report summary

China’s thermal coal market changed radically in January. The QHD price reached a record high of RMB1,100/t from RMB800/t three weeks earlier, before slumping back to the same level before the month was out. The country imported 39 Mt of coal in December, exceeding market expectations to reach a record monthly high. The market expected imports in 2020 would be no higher than 270 Mt, but the NDRC relaxed regulations when the coal supply became tight. The influx of imports in December drove the annual total to 304 Mt, the highest annual amount since 2014. Steel demand saw a major drop in January and inventory started to build. But steel production remained high, allowing cokemakers to maintain the strong position they had built in the last four months of 2020. Coke prices gained by another RMB500/t, stimulating coking coal restocking that pushed up coking coal prices.

Table of contents

  • QHD price slumps after reaching a record high
  • Continuous coke price surging supports coking coal prices
  • China’s economy increased 6.5% in Q4 2020
  • Steel demand slides but coking coal demand not affected yet
  • Thermal coal imports reach record high in December
  • Domestic supply hits 352 Mt in December
  • Strong year-on-year growth expected in Q1
  • Capacity cuts continued in 2020

Tables and charts

This report includes 10 images and tables including:

  • Key thermal coal prices: history and forecast (US$/t)
  • Hard coking coal price arbitrage at Tangshan steel mill (US$/t nominal)
  • Monthly coal-fired power generation (TWh)
  • Monthly hydro-power generation (TWh)
  • Monthly throughput at Qinhuangdao port (Mt)
  • Monthly throughput at Huanghua port (Mt)
  • Monthly hot metal production (Mt)
  • Monthly metallurgical coke production (Mt)
  • Thermal coal supply (Mt)
  • Metallurgical coal supply (Mt)

What's included

This report contains:

  • Document

    Coal markets - China short-term outlook data - Jan 2021.xlsx

    XLSX 425.96 KB

  • Document

    China coal short-term outlook January 2021: QHD price reaches record high

    PDF 1.07 MB