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Weekly Coal Index Report

Even as US coal production continues to slide, and domestic consumption is cut, it emerged that the United States was the major beneficiary of China’s ban on Australian coal imports from the fourth quarter of 2020. This was arguably more for coking coal than thermal coal, but it’s interesting to see the US play its traditional swing supplier role once more, along with Canada and Russia. Freight rates have started to soften in both the Atlantic and Pacific basins now, as the surging demand over the last few weeks has come off the boil. There is now more focus on getting competitive free on board deals done. In a pattern seen across much of South-East Asia, China cut its coal use to around 56% of total energy consumption by end 2020.