China spat hits coal outlook

COAL exports have been hit by uncertainty surrounding the coal spat with China and a COVID-19 induced slowdown in the steel industry, according to the December Resources and Energy Quarterly.
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Australian coal exports are expected to take a hit because of the spat with China.

The value of metallurgical coal exports, used in steel making, is forecast to fall to $22 billion in 2020-21 from $34 billion in 2019-20, before recovering partially to $27 billion in 2021-22.

Earnings from thermal coal exports, used mainly for electricity generation, are forecast to fall from $20 billion in 2019-20 to $15 billion in 2020-21 before rising slightly to $16 billion in 2021-22.

Federal resources minister Keith Pitt said the figures, compiled by the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, underlined the resilience of Australia's resources sector, with record forecasts for iron ore and gold offsetting lower returns for coal and LNG.

"The diversity of Australian commodities and the investment in technology and innovation over the past 20 years helped producers and exporters overcome the challenging conditions of the past year and made sure Australia remained a reliable source of resources and energy," he said.