Colombian coal is continuing to head to Asia, which is keeping availability tight in Europe and underpinning high prices. According to Argus Media, Colombian coal is flowing to east Asian countries such as China, South Korea and Taiwan, where it is delivered at a discount of as much as $15/mt to coal loading at Newcastle in Australia and Richards Bay in South Africa. API 2 needs to strengthen relative to API 4 for Colombian coal to stop going to Asia. But opinions differ as to whether European power demand will recover this year to provide a boost to coal consumption, creating the necessary demand and change in prices. Colombian coal is significantly better value than either Newcastle or Richards Bay, which at current prices equate to around $116/mt and $122/mt on a CFR East Asia basis, respectively. Freight from Puerto Bolivar to East Asia is in the mid- to high-$30/mt range. Colombian coal on an FOB basis is at discount of around $20/mt to the API 4 index, which equates to around $76/mt. Europe is still a big destination for Colombian coal, despite the volumes heading to Asia.

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