Miners may struggle to find buyers in the face of Chinese coal crunch

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“With out the China market, Australian high-ash coal has to compete for different low-end markets like Indian cement or take a reduction to equal coal,” Mr Hope mentioned.

“If China accepts no high-ash [less high quality] thermal coal, different markets could not take all of it.”

There have been no causes given by the Chinese language authorities for the choice. Whereas some pundits say it is because of diplomatic tensions, others say China is merely attempting to restrict low-quality coal and help home provides.

A Shanghai coal dealer instructed Xinder Marine Information they’ve stopped ordering coal from Australia due to the continuing uncertainty across the port restrictions.

Glencore, Peabody Vitality and BHP have been pegged because the miners most definitely to be impacted by any ban or restriction of Australian coal.

Whereas Glencore and BHP are each exporters of coal by Dalian, Mr Hope mentioned BHP can be hit hardest by a ban, notably at its Mt Arthur mine within the NSW Hunter Valley, which is already dealing with declining coal high quality.

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“BHP will surely be hit. Its Mt Arthur coal mine exports eight million tonnes of high-ash thermal coal to China and has no different mines to mix its decrease grade coal with,” Mr Hope mentioned.

“Glencore is unlikely to be caught out. They will ‘mix’ their approach out of it, combining their decrease high quality coals with larger grade coal.”

BHP and Glencore had been approached for remark.

Peabody was unconcerned.

“Peabody hasn’t been affected as of but and continues to watch the scenario, recognising that China accounted for lower than 2 per cent of our gross sales volumes in 2018,” Peabody senior vice-president of investor relations Vic Svec mentioned.

Macquarie analysts additionally singled out the New Hope Group as in danger because of their decrease grades of coal, nonetheless, Mr Hope mentioned it might have much less impression.

A New Hope spokesman mentioned whereas the corporate does have publicity to the Chinese language promote it has not seen any impression of the choice but.

New Hope shares dropped three.5 per cent following the announcement from $four.23 all the way down to $four.08.

Macquarie analysts consider China’s reliance on Australian coal would rapidly finish any bans or harsh restrictions.

Coal stockpiles at Newcastle's Kooragang Island may start to grow if Chinese import bans continue.

Coal stockpiles at Newcastle’s Kooragang Island could begin to develop if Chinese language import bans proceed.Credit score:Max Mason-Hubers

“With Australia exporting round 23 per cent of China’s import necessities, a complete ban appears unlikely,” Macquarie Securities analysts mentioned.

This was supported by ANZ and EY analysts, who mentioned they believe it’s a brief time period restriction by the Chinese language authorities to boost home coal utilization.

CBA analysts added: “We don’t suppose a Dalian Customs ban or a China‑huge ban on Australian coal can be sustainable past just a few weeks or months.”

Mr Hope mentioned whereas restrictions are unlikely to be indefinite Australian coal costs are already falling.

Australia’s fine quality thermal coal presently goes to Japan and South Korea and is valued at round $US88 a tonne, and is already sitting at 19-month lows.

Mr Hope mentioned Australian decrease grade costs will sag, including “we will already see Chinese language and Indonesia costs begin to rise.”

Wooden Mackenzie coal analyst Yu Zhai mentioned: “We anticipate Australian costs, notably for premium and second tier onerous coking coal, would come below extreme stress as Australian exporters look to promote extra coal into different markets.”

Overlaying power and coverage at Fairfax Media.

Yan is a reporter for The Age.

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