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Global metallurgical coal short-term outlook February 2021: volatility rules in rudderless market

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28 February 2021

Global metallurgical coal short-term outlook February 2021: volatility rules in rudderless market

Report summary

Like a sea captain navigating through fog, the met coal market has precious few visual signals to guide it. China’s ongoing Australia ban, and a dearth of activity over the Chinese new year meant precious few fixed price spot deals were completed. FOB prices for Australian PHCC remain in turbulent waters, plummeting once again mid-way through February. The fall in price appeared to hinge on two resold term-contract cargoes by a global steel company. European and Indian mills also retreated after a period of strong restocking. Despite the challenges, including a working assumption that the Chinese ban will remain in place throughout 2021, we remain positive about the prospects for metallurgical coal demand in 2021. A stimulus-heavy environment should provide support to met coal prices, in a year in which Indian market dynamics will play a more influential role.

Table of contents

  • Coronavirus update: Month ended February
    • Indian dynamics a stronger influence on price this year
    • Lower Chinese seaborne imports in absence of Australia
    • Premium HCC supply constrained
    • Stranded cargoes remain a potential disruptor to prices
  • PCI prices rebound
  • China: CFR China price faces pressure from high sulphur domestic supply
  • Australia: Queensland’s metallurgical coal throughput slump in January
  • Australia: production winners and losers in 2020
  • Australia: Anglo’s Moranbah North suspended
  • Australia: application for South32’s extension at Dendrobium declined
  • Canada: supply continues to benefit from Chinese pricing
  • US: production and exports show year-end recovery
  • Indonesia: metallurgical coal exports to rise in 2021
  • Mozambique: Metallurgical coal exports down to a four-year low in 2020
  • China: met coal imports to fall in 2021 as Australian coal ban lingers
  • China: lower quality domestic HCC prices soften as supply recovers
  • India: strong steel demand outlook with Government’s impetus on infrastructure, automotive and housing sector
  • Japan: mixed signals on steel demand recovery in Q1 2021
  • Europe: ArcelorMittal came back strong in 2020

Tables and charts

This report includes 12 images and tables including:

  • Infection rate versus hot metal production
  • Cost versus spot price (US$)
  • Key prices - history & quarterly forecasts (US$/t nominal)
  • Queensland ports: Metallurgical coal exports (Mt per month)
  • Australian met coal production losers (2019 versus 2020)*
  • Australian met coal production winners (2019 versus 2020)*
  • 2020 US metallurgical coal production versus exports
  • Forecast metallurgical coal exports to China (Mt)
  • Global and Chinese crude steel production (Mt)
  • Crude steel production – Ex-China producers (Mt)
  • Global and Chinese blast furnace hot metal production (Mt)
  • Blast furnace hot metal production – Ex-China producers (Mt)

What's included

This report contains:

  • Document

    Metallurgical coal markets - short-term outlook data - Feb 2021.xlsx

    XLSX 604.88 KB

  • Document

    Global metallurgical coal short-term outlook February 2021: volatility rules in rudderless market

    PDF 1006.00 KB