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US Coking Coal Exports Partly Recover in 3Q



By Brendan Kjellberg-Motton

November 6, 2020 - US third quarter coking coal exports recovered from the second quarter but fell from a year earlier as global demand made a partial recovery from its lowest points.

The US exported 9.24mn t of coking coal in the third quarter, a quarterly increase of 13pc but an annual decrease of 21.4pc.

September exports recovered from a lull in August in the vast majority of destinations, but September's total was 24pc below the same month last year. Brazil was the biggest destination for US coking coal in the third quarter and 791,242t shipped in September, driving a 13.7pc year-on-year increase in exports to Brazil in the third quarter to 1.71mn t.

There was a seasonal rise in shipments to Canada as mills sought to stock up before winter. The US shipped 449,352t to Canada in September, a 60pc increase from August, but still 12.6pc less than in September 2019.

US exports to Europe were up by 31.8pc from the second quarter but fell by 17.6pc year on year to 2.89mn t. European buying has been been steady in the third quarter, firms said, but there has been little extra demand amid weakened economies and resurging Covid-19 cases.

Turkey, India, and Ukraine were exceptions among major buyers as US shipments to these destinations fell on a quarterly basis. Shipments to Turkey fell by 23pc on the quarter to 686,343t, but this was an annual increase of over 50pc, as Turkish mills took advantage of sharply reduced global demand in the second quarter and continued to do so while demand recovered in the third quarter. Shipments to India fell by 21.8pc on the quarter and 18.3pc on the year to 781,215t with steel production declining as the country's new Covid-19 cases reached a peak of almost 100,000/d in September.

Shipments to Japan fell by 43pc year on year in the third quarter to 824,835t.

The US exported a 120,000t cargo to China in September, the first in four months. Further deals into China are expected in the fourth quarter following China's ban on imports of Australian coal.

The rise in third quarter exports combined with a continued reduction of output, as US production contracted by around 4pc from the second quarter and 38pc from a year earlier. Stronger fundamentals are now supporting the Argus fob Hampton Roads assessment for low-volatile and high-volatile A coal above the Australian premium low-volatile assessment, which has been weighed on by the import ban


US coking coal exports t
Destination Sep-20 Sep-19 ±% Q3 2020 Q2 2020 ±%
World 3,214,395 4,275,373 -25 9,237,571 11,753,293 -21
Brazil 791,242 491,958 61 1,705,587 1,500,008 14
Canada 449,352 513,978 -13 1,118,986 1,300,421 -14
Netherlands 178,530 314,406 -43 930,546 848,802 10
Japan 391,193 548,028 -29 824,835 1,453,774 -43
India 230,562 200,034 15 781,215 956,008 -18
Turkey 166,900 199,037 -16 686,343 437,808 57
Ukraine 71,644 421,324 -83 566,503 1,296,961 -56
Austria 104,247 257,155 -59 315,293 458,210 -31
United Kingdom 136,275 167,060 -18 288,063 351,884 -18
Korea (Republic of) 0 410,239 -100 285,435 689,085 -59
Croatia 77,006 138,095 -44 281,882 396,698 -29
Italy 107,860 177,484 -39 260,289 493,894 -47
Poland 158,624 55,000 188 227,987 143,533 59
China (People's Republic of) 120,000 0 n/a 120,000 104,450 15