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Metallurgical coal in 2018: Opportunity and risk in equal measure

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Report summary

2018 promises another year of good profits for miners, but expectations around price need to be realistic. 2017 was an exceptional year in many ways, when steel capacity closures in China, and coal supply disruption combined to force up average steel, and coal prices to multi-year highs. Flatter demand for coal, and improving global supply, will lead to a more competitive trade, and lower average prices, this year. 2018 will be notable for an increase in mine capital investment, the first real rise in eight years. Volatility will stay high, hindering some investment decisions, but also inviting greater participation in derivative coking products, in what could be a seminal year for coking coal pricing. China, as usual, has plenty of potential to disrupt the market balance this year. Coal and coke sector reform, and pollution control, will remain key to domestic demand and supply, ultimately acting to support seaborne prices in a rebalancing market

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