Australian Coal Exports

Australian coal exports comprise two varieties: Thermal coal, which is burnt for electricity, and Metallurgical coal, which is used for making steel and iron ore.

Thermal Coal Exports were worth $22.7 billion in 2019, with almost $4 billion going to China.

Metallurgical Coal Exports were worth $41.2 billion in 2019, with $10.2 billion going to China.

Shipments of thermal coal have received bans due to Australian political actions, possibly such as attempting to locate the first COVID outbreak, to assist in working on a fast virus.

By November 2020, more than 60 vessels carrying Australian thermal coal were held up in Chinese waters because they weren’t able to offload their cargo, according to Bloomberg shipping analysis data.

Australia sells the vast majority of its coal to Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

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If China buys more Russian, South African and Indonesian coal to replace Australian coal, then Australia can, by and large, simply swap customers.

Total demand doesn’t change, nor does supply – at least not in the near term.

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