The rally in coal prices, which began at the end of last year and intensified after the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent EU ban on Russian coal imports, will likely last for years, according to an analysis by Fitch Solutions carried by Bloomberg.
The EU ban on coal imports from Russia begins this month.
In April, the EU imposed a ban on imports of coal and other solid fossil fuels from Russia as of August 2022 as part of the fifth round of EU sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. The package includes “a prohibition to purchase, import or transfer coal and other solid fossil fuels into the EU if they originate in Russia or are exported from Russia, as from August 2022.”
The EU ban means that Europe will have to source more supply, including from Australia, Colombia, and South Africa, which raises the price of seaborne coal shipments globally. Moreover, Europe will need more coal supply as it has restarted idled coal-fired power generation plants as it aims to conserve as much gas as possible ahead of the winter.
According to Fitch Solutions, global coal prices will also be supported by Europe’s run on LNG, which is pricing out emerging economies in Asia, and they could seek more coal, too.
Fitch hiked its forecast for the Asian thermal coal benchmark for coal loaded at Australia’s Newcastle terminal for this year and for the next four years. Fitch now sees Asian thermal coal prices averaging $320 per ton in 2022, up from $230 a ton previously expected. For the period 2022 through 2026, the forecast was raised to an average of $246, up from $159 per ton previously expected.
Soaring natural gas prices are giving rise to coal demand around the world, with consumption set to match this year the record-high from 2013, and further jump to a new all-time high next year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said at the end of last month.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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Charles is a writer for Oilprice.com