Australia is an important source of imports for China's coking coal market


Australia's vast land, with a land area of 7.68 million square kilometers and a distance of about 4,000 kilometers from east to west, is a country rich in mineral resources, also known as the "country sitting in the mine car." Among them, the minerals that are important are coal and iron ore (466, 4.00, 0.87%). According to the Australian Department of Agriculture and Resource Economics, Australia has proven coal resources of 76.2 billion tons, ranking fourth in the world.

Australia has a full range of coal resources, including anthracite, semi-anthracite, bituminous coal, sub-bituminous coal, lignite and so on. At the same time, the coal quality is excellent, mostly open-pit mines, and its commercial coal sulfur and ash are not high. Geographically, Australia's coal mines are almost exclusively concentrated in Queensland and New South Wales in the east, with coal production accounting for 98% of total national production.

From the perspective of corporate composition, Australia's coal resources are relatively concentrated, and the top ten producers basically monopolize the country's coal supply. Among them, Glencore, BHP Billiton, Yancoal Australia, Peabody and Anglo American contracted almost 80% of the coal supply in Australia. It can be seen that the concentration of enterprises in the Australian commercial coal industry is very high, and the resource market has formed a certain oligopoly pattern.

Except for a small portion of Australian coal products used for domestic power plant generation and steel smelting, most of them are exported to the world in the form of exports. Although production is only ranked fifth in the world, Australia's coal exports rank second in the international marine coal market (the first is Indonesia). In the metallurgical coal export market, Australia is in the first place. According to the latest data of the International Coal Association, in 2017, Australia's metallurgical coal exports totaled 173 million tons, accounting for 58% of the total metallurgical coal export volume. Japan, India, South Korea, and China constitute the main target groups for Australian metallurgical coal exports.

According to the Australian Ministry of Industry, Science and Resources, in 2017, 19% of Australia's exported metallurgical coal was sold to China, setting a new high in nearly four years. This is directly related to the recovery of profit in China's steel market in 2017 and the improvement in demand for low-sulfur, low-ash and high-quality primary coking coal. In that year, the average price of imported high quality primary coking coal in China was as high as US$189.4/ton.