[Ferro-Alloys.com]Australian metallurgical coal exports are projected by the government's official forecaster to rebound in 2023 after a dip in 2022 because of the impact of wet weather.
The Office of the Chief Economist (OCE) revised down its Australian coking coal projection for 2022 to 163mn t in its December Resources and Energy Quarterly (REQ) from 165mn t in its September report but revised up its forecast for 2023 to 183mn t from 181mn t. Australian exported 167mn t in 2021, down from 172mn t in 2020 and 184mn t in 2019.
The increase in 2023 will be dependent on drier weather, an easing of labour shortages across Australia and containment of industrial action at the largest supplier of seaborne coking coal BHP Mitsubishi Alliance. The OCE warns that wet weather may persist beyond the forecast end to the La Nina trend in March because of the apparent slowdown in oceanic cooling.
The OCE responded to lower prices for premium hard coking coal over the past three months by cutting its average spot price forecast to $377/t fob Australia for hard coking coal for 2022 from $391/t in its September forecast. But it revised up its 2024 price forecast to $228/t from $219/t, citing the potential for more supply-side disruption and switching to thermal coal sales. It also highlighted increased demand from India and uncertainty around the direction of the Chinese market.
The OCE's 2022 average spot hard coking coal price forecast of $377/t fob Australia is higher than the average premium hard coking coal low-volatile price that Argus has assessed at $367/t for the year to 19 December.
Premium hard coking coal prices peaked above $660/t fob Australia in mid-March. They have traded between $200/t and $300/t since early August, while it was largely below $200/t from April 2018 to July 2021. Argus last assessed the premium hard low-volatile coking coal price at $257.50/t fob Australia on 19 December, down from $320.75/t on 8 November.argusmedia
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