China still hungry for NSW coal: report

China’s demand for NSW coal jumped 22 per cent over the last financial year.

New export data released by Coal Services reveals that in 2013-14 NSW coal exports rose by nearly 8 per cent from 155 million tonnes to 167 million tonnes.

The results show Asia is still hungry for Australian coal, with demand from Taiwan rising by 14 per cent, demand in Korea up by 8.7 per cent, and demand in Japan higher by 1.7 per cent.

China’s demand for NSW coal has increased by 22 per cent over the last financial year.

NSW Minerals Council CEO Stephen Galilee said the results fly in the face of predictions that coal would falter as a key export.

“Coal is our State’s most valuable export commodity so it’s good news for the NSW economy that demand for coal is growing steadily across all our main export markets,” Galilee said.

Coal is the state’s single most valuable merchandise export, contributing 20 per cent of all exports leaving the state by value, including goods and services.

Japan accounts for 43 per cent of NSW coal exports, followed by China with 23 per cent, Korea with 16 per cent, Taiwan with 10 per cent and the rest of Asia accounting for per cent.

While exports have been higher, prices over the last 12 months have made for tough times in the NSW coal sector.

The Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) predicts more pain for 2015, with thermal coal expected to remain weak and decline by 6 per cent to settle at US$77 in 2015.

Coking coal prices are also set to suffer, forecast to decline by 2.6 per cent to an average US$123 a tonne in 2015.

BREE said from 2016 the market balance is expected to tighten as more mines close and availability tightens, leading to a slight increase in prices.

“NSW coal mining has been doing it tough with over 4,000 job losses in the last two years and a broken NSW planning system. It is therefore encouraging to see demand for NSW coal rising significantly across our major and emerging markets,” Galilee said.

“Steady growth in exports to our long term markets of Japan, Korea and Taiwan combined with a strong increase in exports to the emerging market of China signal good news for the industry, provided we get the policy settings right here in NSW.”

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