Thermal coal exports are expected to rise to almost A$6.3 billion on the back of higher negotiated prices, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE) said this week.
Rail infrastructure constraints in Australia and South Africa and strong domestic demand in China are expected to lead to strong support for thermal coal prices well into 2005.
With the capabilities and infrastructure to increase exports - Indonesia is expected to respond strongly to demand, increasing exports by 13% to 87 million tonnes in 2004.
Given the limited issue of export licenses, China’s export of thermal coal is forecast to fall by eight percent to 74 million tonnes in 2004.
Developments in China will also continue to have a significant impact on global coking coal markets. Over 2004/05 China is expected to continue to be a net importer of hard coking coal.
“With significant new capacity coming on line during 2004-05, Australian export volumes of metallurgical coal are forecast to rise by 9% to 122 million tonnes. Increased volumes and higher prices are forecast to result in Australian metallurgical coal export earnings rising by 43% to over $9.2 billion 2004-05,” ABARE said in its Australian Commodities report.