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.