The ink is dry on the Phase 1 US-China trade deal, now what for US coal exports?
On 15 January 2020, the US and China signed an encompassing Phase 1 trade agreement valued at US$200B over the next two years. Amongst the trade goods in the deal, China pledges to spend US$52.4B on US energy products including LNG, crude oil, refined products and coal - US$18.5B in 2020 and US$33.9B in 2021. China hasn't been a particularly strong market for US metallurgical exports to China. However, prior to the 1 July 2018 tariff, US metallurgical coal shipments to China were on the rise as mills showed an affinity for certain US coal brands. The proposed energy trade values are massive so where does the trade of metallurgical coal fall in the broader trade plans given likely another year of record crude steel production in China?