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.
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.