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Australian coking coal exports drop 17% MoM in January 2024

Steel Mint Insights

Australian coking coal exports dropped 17% m-o-m to 10.80 million tonnes (mnt) in January’24 as against 13.08 mnt in December’23. However, exports remain almost stable at 10.80 mnt in January’24 as against 10.48 mnt in January’23. The decline in Australian coking coal exports by 17% m-o-m was attributed to Cyclone Kirrily and adverse weather conditions during January, further compounded by maintenance shutdowns at Hay Point and Gladstone ports.

Due to the cyclonic disruption, no berthing is scheduled at Hay Point, Abbot Point, and DBCT. The northern Bowen Basin coal terminals of Abbot Point, Dalrymple Bay (DBCT), and Hay Point are most likely to be affected by the cyclone. Additionally, Hay Point underwent scheduled maintenance from 8-15 January 2024, Gladstone from 15-18 January, and Port Kembla had a 10-hour maintenance on 31 January. Deliveries to Hay Point and Kembla were cut, creating congestion at other ports.

Imports decline from China, India

Australian coking coal exports to China dropped by 18% to 0.79 in January as against December’23. Demand from China was subdued due to the Lunar New Year holidays starting 10 February 2024. The likelihood of demand improving from China in the spot market after the New Year celebrations is low. This is because the temperature in China is predicted to be higher compared to last year, as projected by the Chinese Environment Department, and most buyers have entered into long-term contracts. Chinese consumption also does not appear to be promising.

Australia exports to India plunged by 18% at 2.95 mnt as against December’23. The drop in India’s coking coal imports can be attributed to reduced demand within the country and subdued buying interest.

Country-wise exports

India, formerly the largest buyer of Australian coking coal, experienced an 18% m-o-m decline in imports at 2.95 mnt in January’24, compared to 3.59 mnt in December’23. The drop can be attributed to reduced demand within the country.

Shipments to Japan fell by 9% m-o-m to 2.35 mnt in January’24 as against 3.59 mnt in December’23.

Exports to Taiwan dropped by 35% at 0.50 mnt in January’24. Imports by South Korea (Drop by 6%) and Vietnam (Drop by 51%) recorded to 1.40 mnt and 0.51 mnt, respectively.

Port-wise exports

Exports from Gladstone plunged by 10% m-o-m to 3.67 mnt in January’24 as against 4.06 mnt in December’23. Shipments from DBCT stood at 3.29 mnt in january’24 as against 3.97 mnt in December’23. Supplies from Hay point and Abbot Point drop by 14% and 31%, respectively, in the month under review.

Outlook

It is anticipated that exports might decline in the near future due to unfavourable weather conditions in Australia, potentially impacting volumes. Demand from China in the spot market has remained weak following the New Year celebrations, likely due to higher temperatures compared to the previous year. Subdued interest from major importing nations may weigh on export numbers.

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