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Abstract

The paper presents selected issues related to the development of international coal markets. World consumption of coal dropped for the second year in a row in 2016, primarily due to the lower demand from China and the US. The share of coal in global primary energy consumption decreased to 28%. World coal production accounted to 3.66 billion toe and it was lower by 6.2% when compared to the previous year. More than 60% of this decline took place in China. The decline in global production was more than four times higher than the decrease in consumption. The sufficiency of the world resources of coal are estimated at 153 years – that is three times more than the sufficiency of oil and gas resources. After several years of decline, coal prices increased by 77% in 2016. The current spot prices are at the level of $80/ton and are close to the 2014 prices. In the European market, after the first half of the year, coal prices reached the level of around 66% higher than in the same period of the last year. The average price in the first half amounted to PLN 12.6/GJ, which is close to the 2012 prices. The share of spot trade in the total purchase amount accounted to approx. 20%. Prices in futures contracts can be estimated on the basis of the Japan-Australia contracts prices and prices in supplies to power plants located in Germany. On average, the prices in supplies to these power plants were higher by approximately 9% in the years 2010 – 2016 and prices in Australia – Japan contracts were 12% higher than CIF ARA prices in 2017. Global energy coal trade reached about 1.012 billion tons in 2016. A decline by 4.8% is expected in 2019 primarily due to the expected reduction in demand in major importing countries in Asia.
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Abstract

A significant part of hard coal production (15–19% in the years 2010–2017, i.e. 1.0–1.3 billion tons per year) is traded on the international market. The majority of coal trade takes place by sea, accounting for 91–94% of the total coal trade. The article discusses the share of coal in international seaborne trade and the largest coal ports. Coal is one the five major bulk commodities (in addition to iron ore, grain, bauxite, alumina, and phosphate rock). In the years 2010–2016, the share of coal in international seaborne trade and major bulk commodities was 36–41% and 11–12%, respectively. Based on the analysis of coal throughput in different ports worldwide, the ports with the largest throughput include the ports of Qinhuangdao (China), Newcastle (Australia), and Richards Bay (South Africa). For 2013–2017, their throughput amounted to a total of 411–476 million tons of coal. The largest coal exporting countries were: Australia, Indonesia, Russia, Colombia, South Africa, and the US (a total of 85% share in global coal exports), while the largest importers are Asian countries: China, India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan (a 64% share in global imports). In Europe, Germany is the largest importer of coal (54 million tons imported in 2016). The article also discusses the freight costs and the bulk carrier fleet. Taking the price of coal at the recipient’s (i.e. at the importer’s port) into account, the share of freight costs in the CIF price of steam coal (the price of a good delivered at the frontier of the importing country) was at the level of 10–14%. In the years 2010–2016, the share of bulk carriers in the world fleet was in the range of 11–15%. In terms of tonnage, bulk carriers accounted for 31–35% of the total tonnage of all types of ships in the world. The share of new (1–4 years) bulk carriers in the total number of ships on a global scale in the years 2010–2016 was 29–46%.
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