In short term thermal coal forecasting a significant amount of weight is normally given to the regional seasonal buying patterns of utilities. This is a time proven and well documented analytical approach. However when seaborne imports are below 20% of total demand predicting short term imports using seasonality does not work well. When seaborne imports approach 100% of total burn seasonality does appear to be a valid input to short term forecasting. Consequently seasonality is a useful tool in forecasting seaborne trade but is limited by country demand characteristics and should therefore be used judiciously.