Commodity Market Report

Global thermal coal short-term outlook February 2019 - China policy uncertainty kicks in early

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28 February 2019

Global thermal coal short-term outlook February 2019 - China policy uncertainty kicks in early

Report summary

We are two months into the year and we are already talking about Chinese customs clearance and potential port restrictions on imported thermal coals for 2019. A fresh round of inspections at several ports has prolonged the clearance time for imported coals beyond normal levels. There is no official statement by port authorities banning intake of Australian coal and both China and Australia have denied restrictions or a ban on imports. Prices have diverged with Indonesian low-CV coals registering gains while premium coals trend downwards.

Table of contents

    • Uncertainty around customs clearance and port restrictions – a Déjà vu
    • PPA auctions provide relief for struggling utilities
    • Coal generation in key European markets subdued by renewables in 2018
    • Import tax will not be triggered as prices stay above US$70/t threshold
    • Increased inspections following mine accidents impact supply in the short-term
    • Glencore caps coal production at 150 Mt
    • ITOCHU will no longer invest in thermal coal power plants and mines
    • New Acland stage 3 project moves along the permitting process
    • Climate change cited as one of the reasons for Rocky Hill project appeal's rejection
    • Private miners can sell portion of production in open market
    • Heavy rain hampers coal production in East and South Kalimantan
    • Government submits new National Development Plan to Congress
    • Vancouver revokes permit to build coal export facility

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