The article presents an analysis of Russia’s participation in international steam coal trade, which has been its important participant for years. The research covered the years 2014–2018. The geographical location on two continents and the availability of coal deposits, favors its presence on both the Pacific and Atlantic markets. The article also discusses the main coal producers in Russia and the prices of Russian steam coal directed to the spot market. Due to the significant share of coal exports for the Russian economy, the focus was also on analyzing Russian seaports. In recent years, Asian exports have dominated in Russian steam coal exports. The share of export to this market in the years 2014–2018 was in the range of 49–57% (60–87 million tons). Currently, three countries play an important role among Asian countries: South Korea, China and J apan. They purchased a total of 38–52 million tons of Russian coal. Although in the years under analysis Russia exported 52–67 million tons of steam coal to the European market, the share of this market dropped from almost half to around 40%. T he slow departure from coal energy contributes to reducing the share of recipients from this direction. Among European countries, in 2014 the main direction of export was Great Britain with 19% (24 million tons) of total export share. In 2018, exports fell to 9 million tons (5%). Among European destinations for Russian coal, Poland’s share is growing in importance. In the years 2014–2018, steam coal exports to Poland varied in the range of 5.6–16.2 million tons. In the years 2014–2018 it changed in the range of 5.6–16.2 million tons. The dynamic growth achieved in the last three years is noteworthy. In relation to 2016, imports increased by 10.0 million tons and in 2018 amounted to as much as 16.1 million tons. The article also discusses the geographical structure of coal imports to Poland by railway border crossings and seaports.
Over the past two years, coking coal prices have been the most volatile among major bulk commodities. On the supply side, the most important factor determining the movement of coal prices were weather problems affecting the exports of coal from Australia (Queensland), where the production of the best quality coking coals is concentrated. On the demand side, an important factor is the growing role of China on the market, which, being the world’s largest producer and consumer of metallurgical coal, has also become its largest importer. The dominant, about 75% share of China in the global spot market has resulted in their level of activity influencing the periodic price decreases or increases in international trade and prices based on CFR China (along with Australian FOB prices) have become important indicators to monitor market trends and determine levels of negotiated benchmarks. The exceptional volatility on the market led to a change in the quarterly price fixing mechanism for hard-load hard coal contractors in mid–2017 to apply a formula that assumes the valuation of their quarterly volumes based on the average of the basket of spot price indices. This reflects the broader trend of the evolving market, with growing spot market activity. The article describes the current situation on the international coking coal market and presents short-term forecasts for hard coking hard coal prices (PHCC LV), which are a reference point for fixing prices of other types of metallurgical coal (hard standard, semi-soft, PCI).
Over the past decade, the growing demand for imported coal from consumers (mainly Asian) coincided with supply constraints on the part of major suppliers. The sequence of events is referred to as force majeure. There were many events in the exporting countries, mainly including the cyclone and floods in Australia (Queensland, the world’s largest hard coking coal mining region). Imbalance between supply and demand causes commodity prices to be subject to cyclical changes, but in recent years the frequency and dynamics of these changes in the international metallurgical market (hard coking coal, semi-soft coking coal, PCI coal) has been extremely high. China, the world’s largest producer and consumer of coking coal, played a leading role in these events. Political action by the Chinese authorities regarding their domestic mining and metallurgical industries and the coke-chemical industry has made the country dethrone Japan since 2013 and has become a global leader in metallurgical coal imports. The rise of China’s importance in coal trading has become an important benchmark for monitoring market trends and benchmarking benchmarks. The market has become more bipolar and CFR China’s prices (in addition to Australia’s FOB prices). The paper describes the path of pricing mechanism changes in international trade contracts for metallurgical coal, against the background of market conditions that generate these changes.
Coal production in 2018 increased by 3.3% and amounted to 7.81 million tons. Compared to 2010, it increased by 620 million tons. The structure of coal production in the world is very stable in the analyzed period of 2010–2018. Steam coal dominates in production with a share of 77%. Since 1990, the share of coal in the consumption of primary energy carriers has fallen by 3% in the global economy. In the EU, the share of coal in the consumption of primary energy carriers is more than twice lower than in the world, and in 2018 amounted to 13%. BP estimates the sufficiency of coal proven reserves based on 2018 data for the next 132 years. For oil and gas, they are estimated at 51 years. The decline in hard coal production in the European U nion can be dated almost continuously since 1990, which has decreased by 74%. In 2018, 74 million tons of coal were produced in the EU. In 2018, hard coal consumption in EU countries dropped to 226 million tons, i.e. by 20.6%. In 2018, global trade in steam coal amounted to 1.14 billion tons. The situation in China is crucial for the international coal market. The slight change in the import policy of this country significantly affects the situation in international trade in steam coal. In 2019, coal prices (at Newcastle, Richards Bay, ARA ports) dropped by an average of 23 U SD/ton. The average decreases for these three indices were 33%. The prices of steam coal in the forecasts presented in the paper are under pressure of the falling demand.