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Coal

Global coal consumption rose by 1%, (25 mtoe), with India (4.8%, 18 Mtoe) recording the fastest growth, as demand both inside and outside of the power sector increased. World production of coal increased more strongly (3.2%, 105 mtoe), driven by notable increases in both Chinese (3.6%, 56 Mtoe) and US (6.9%, 23 Mtoe) output
Coal mining
“The fact that Chinese spot coal prices were above the government’s target price band through much of last year spurred a series of policy measures to increase coal supplies and so ease price pressures. The increase in Chinese coal production of over 3.5% last year, its strongest growth for six years, was a direct result of these actions.”

Spencer Dale, group chief economist

Global coal consumption (percentage contributions to annual growth)
Global coal consumption (percentage contributions to annual growth)
Global coal production (percentage contributions to annual growth)
Global coal production (percentage contributions to annual growth)

Coal reserves

World proved coal reserves are currently sufficient to meet 134 years of global production, much higher than the R/P ratio for oil and gas.

 

By region, Asia Pacific holds the most proved reserves (41% of total), split mainly between Australia, China and India. The US remains the largest single reserve holder (24.2% of total).

Reserves to production (R/P) ratios – 2017 by region (years)
Reserves to production (R/P) ratios – 2017 by region (years)
Reserves to production (R/P) ratios – history (years)
Reserves to production (R/P) ratios – history (years)

Source
Includes data from Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) Energy Study 2017.

 

Coal production

World coal production increased by 105 million tonnes of oil equivalent or 3.2%, the fastest rate of growth since 2011.

 

Production rose by 56 mtoe (3.6%) in China and 23 mtoe (6.9%) in the US. Interestingly, the increase in US production came despite a further fall in domestic consumption, with US coal producers instead increasing exports to Asia.

Coal production by region (million tonnes oil equivalent)
Coal production by region (million tonnes oil equivalent)

Coal consumption

Global coal consumption grew by 25 mtoe, or 1%, the first growth since 2013.

 

Growth was driven largely by India (18 mtoe), with China consumption also up slightly (4 mtoe) following three successive annual declines during 2014-2016. OECD demand fell for the fourth year in a row (-4 mtoe).

 

After several years of free-fall, the coal market experienced a mini-revival last year, with both global consumption and production increasing. India (4.8%,) recorded the fastest growth, as demand both inside and outside of the power sector increased. China’s coal consumption (0.5%,) also ticked-up. This is despite the substantial coal-to-gas switching in the industrial and residential sector, as increases in power demand in China sucked in additional coal as the balancing fuel.

Consumption by region (million tonnes oil equivalent)
Consumption by region (million tonnes oil equivalent)

Coal prices

Coal prices rose in China, Japan, Europe and the US in 2017.

 

Spot market coal price in China reached a new historical high in 2017, chiefly because total output could not meet the rising coal demand. The effect of this increasing coal price in China spilled over into the rest of the world in 2017. The international seaborne coal market was booming the whole year.

Coal prices ($ per tonne)
Coal prices ($ per tonne)

Source
S&P Global Platts, c 2018, S&P Global Inc. Prices are for Central Appalachian 12,500 BTU, 1.2 SO2 coal, fob. Prices for 1996-2000 are by coal price publication date, 2001-2005 by coal price assessment date. 2006-2017 weekly CAPP 12,500 BTU, 1.6 SO2 coal, fob.