Commodity Market Report

China coal short-term outlook January 2023

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The coronavirus pandemic affected China’s economy again in December. However, the recovery of some key economic indicators – domestic consumption, manufacturing PMI, and others – shows that the economy is recuperating. Far from boosting the economy though, coal prices fell because of record-high coal inventory at ports at the end of January. We expect the high stock levels will persist in dragging the price down in February. The reviving economy will be the first driver of coal prices in the coming months. Price weaknesses also emerged in the coking coal market, as companies completed their restocking and the transactions were scarce. High expectations for the recovery of steel demand encouraged steel mills to maintain high operating rates. We expect the high operating rates to support the coke and coking coal prices in February before real demand is tested after March.

Table of contents

  • Thermal demand: economic activity is recuperating from the coronavirus pandemic
  • Met demand: high hopes for steel demand-supported price recovery; yet, questionable
  • Coal production in 2022 hit a record high of 4.5 Bt
  • 2023 supply will reach another high
  • Thermal imports: China imported 208 Mt of seaborne thermal coal in 2022
  • Met imports: the arrival of Australian cargoes will reshape import shares but will be limited in 2023
  • Thermal price: record high coal inventory led to a price fall at the end of January
  • Strong expectations of increasing coal demand in 2023 cannot stop the coal price from falling
  • Met price: post-holiday buying interest to reverse the short-lived price decline

Tables and charts

This report includes 11 images and tables including:

  • 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)
  • China’s monthly coal output (Mt)
  • Thermal coal supply (Mt)
  • Metallurgical coal supply (Mt)
  • Key thermal coal prices: history and forecast (USD/t)
  • Hard coking coal price arbitrage at Tangshan steel mill (USD/t nominal)

What's included

This report contains:

  • Document

    China coal short-term outlook January 2023.xlsx

    XLSX 414.21 KB

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    China coal short-term outlook January 2023

    PDF 980.54 KB