13 Oct 2021

US, Canada Coking Coal Exports Shift Towards Asia

13 Oct 2021  by   

US and Canadian coking coal exports to China and India rose in August, while Atlantic buyers turned to Australian cargoes at lower prices.

Total US exports rose by 46.2pc year on year in line with higher output, a global recovery in demand and strong demand for US coals in China. Canadian exports grew by a more limited 5.1pc over the same period to 2.19mn t, with major producer Teck expecting its third-quarter sales to be cut by 300,000-500,000t after fire damage to a railway line serving its mines.

China accounted for 25.8pc of US exports and 33.9pc of Canada's in January-August 2021.

Despite falling steel output in China and tight availability of US coal, US shipments to China rose by 25.1pc to 1.4mn t.

US coking coal shipments to Canada jumped by just under 50pc on a monthly and annual basis to 417,919t, buoyed by elevated North American steel prices and strong demand for Canadian steel in the US.

Despite lower Australian prices and a significant freight disadvantage, US and Canadian exports gained ground on Australian shipments into India, US exports to India doubled from a year earlier and rose by 36pc from July to 322,852t in August, while Canada's shipments to India more than trebled on the year to 247,190t. Australia's shipments to India fell by 18.7pc year on year or almost 1mn t to 3.84mn t, a monthly decrease of 9.5pc.

US shipments to Japan rose by 253pc on an annual basis and 130pc on a monthly basis to 381,549t as Japanese blast furnace steel output recovered by 24.6pc from the previous year.

Major Atlantic buyers sought to limit their exposure to US coking coal prices, and conversely, suppliers were more focused on elevated cfr China spot deals.

Shipments to the EU fell by 15.8pc year on year to 888,583t, despite the EU's recovery from the impacts of Covid-19 lockdowns over this period. But this was a monthly increase of 72pc. Canadian shipments to Europe were limited to 98,699t shipped to Poland. Australian shipments to Europe rose by 10.3pc from the previous year to 1.2mn t.

Shipments to Brazil fell by 32.7pc from a year earlier and by 10.8 from the previous month to 306,199t as buyers preferred Australian cargoes at lower prices.

There were also no US or Canadian shipments to Turkey, with Turkish spot buyers preferring Australian cargoes. Australia shipped 168,532t to Turkey in August, having shipped none in August 2020.

Canada's shipments to South Korea recovered by 87.6pc from the previous year to 713,883t, and compared to only 59,400t in July. The US did not ship any coking coal to South Korea in August, compared to 84,698t in the same month last year and 100,282t in July.

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