Coal prices

Coal prices rose in China, Japan and Europe in 2016 after four years of price declines

The rise in coal prices further depressed global coal demand particularly in the power sector with natural gas and renewable energy the main beneficiaries. The price level remained the highest in Japan. The steam coal price differential between Japan and North America rose from $7/t in 2015 to $18/t, and the spread between Northwest Europe and North America rose from $3/t to $16/t.

Coal prices ($ per tonne)

Coal prices ($ per tonne)


Annual prices quoted include the Northwest Europe marker price, Japan steam spot cif price, China Quinhuangdao spot price and the US Central Appalachian coal spot price index. Coal prices except for the US Central Appalachian price are calculated as cif prices, where cif = cost + insurance + freight (average freight prices). The US Central Appalachian price is fob = free on board. All prices are quoted in US dollars per tonne.

Northwest Europe prices for 1996-2000 are based on monthly data, 2001-2016 are weekly data. China prices for 2000-2005 are based on monthly data, 2006-2016 on a weekly data. China basis = 5,500 kilocalories per kg NAR CFR. Japan basis = 6,000 kilocalories per kg NAR CIF.

Prices are for Central Appalachian 12,500 BTU, 1.2 SO2 coal, fob. Prices for 1996-2000 are by coal price publication date, 2001-2016 by coal price assessment date.

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