‘Going back in time’: European coal imports to hit multi-year highs in 2022

‘Going back in time’: European coal imports to hit multi-year highs in 2022

By Fransiska Nangoy

NUSA DUA, Indonesia, Sept 19 (Reuters) – European thermal coal imports could be the highest in at least four years in 2022 and could rise further next year, analysts said on Monday, highlighting the scope of the energy crisis. resulting from sanctions on its main supplier, Russia.

The sanctions imposed after the invasion of Ukraine have left many European countries without the flow of fuels for power generation from Russia, the main supplier of the continent, driving the prices of coal, natural gas and electricity in Europe to levels record.

European thermal coal imports in 2022 could rise to around 100 million tonnes, the most since 2017, according to Noble Resources International Pte Ltd, while commodity price agency Argus expects shipments to hit a four-year high. .

Both Noble and Argus expect European demand for the fuel for power generation to increase further in 2023.

“Europe is going back in time,” Rodrigo Echeverri, Noble’s head of research, told Coaltrans’ annual conference in Bali on Monday.

In the absence of Russia, South Africa is likely to become a major supplier of better-burning coal to Europe this year and next, Andrew Jones, publisher of Argus Media, told the conference. He added that Russia would boost supplies to China, India and Turkey.

Echeverri estimates that the world supply of thermal coal transported by sea is 983 million tons, below the demand, which is 996 million tons, despite the fact that the economic slowdown in China has led to imports of that country to its first decline since 2015.

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China’s demand for seaborne thermal coal could fall by about 45m tonnes to 210m tonnes this year, hit particularly hard by slowdowns in the manufacturing and real estate sectors, it added.

Noble expects much of this year’s supply increase to come from Indonesia, while Australian output was reduced due to heavy rains, Echeverri said.

“We expect gas prices to remain high through 2025, supporting high coal prices,” he said.

Month-to-month physical thermal coal at the Australian port of Newcastle, a global benchmark, is currently trading just below its all-time high of $483.50/tonne in March.

(Reporting by Fransiska Nangoy; additional reporting by Muyu Xu in Singapore; Writing by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)

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