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Contract prices averaged $158.50 per tonne fob Australia this year.
“In 2014, increased production from various mines in Queensland is forecast to support a 4% increase in metallurgical coal exports, to total 168 million tonnes,” Australia’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) said in a report published on Wednesday December 18.
New and expanded mines including BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Daunia and Rio Tinto and Mitsui’s Kestrel are expected to further support the increase in exports, the report noted.
The bureau forecast Canada to continue to export 34 million tonnes of metallurgical coal in 2014, while predicting US exports to fall to 57 million tonnes from 59 million tonnes expected in 2013.
The world trade of metallurgical coal is expected to grow 3% to 319 million tonnes in 2014, supported by “strong import growth in China”, the report read.
China is expected to import 99 million tonnes of metallurgical coal in 2014, up from a forecast of 92 million tonnes this year.
Japan, South Korea and India are forecast to see their met coal imports remain flat into 2014 at 54 million tonnes, 32 million tonnes and 38 million tonnes, respectively.
The European Union is expected to buy 8% more of the raw material, to reach a total of 42 million tonnes.
The Australian government expects benchmark prices for hard coking coal to average at about $150 per tonne fob Australia in 2014, in response to “a plenitude of seaborne supply”.