Diversification pays dividends for South Korean thermal coal buyers

South Korean thermal coal buyers have been working hard over the past year to diversify their supply sources and take advantage of price arbitrages in the seaborne market, according to a S&P Global Platts analysis. Trade and customs data for South Korea show that operators of power plants fired by imported thermal coal have increased their purchases from non-traditional supply sources such as Canada, Colombia, and the United States. These three countries typically supply customers in the Atlantic Basin market – including Europe, where demand for imported thermal coal is shrinking – and accounted for 10.6 million mt of South Korea’s 109.5 million mt of imports in 2017. South Korea has more than tripled to 7.8 million mt in 2017 its intake of thermal coal shipments from South Africa – a swing supplier to the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific seaborne markets – up from only 2.2 million mt in 2016. At the same time, South Korean thermal coal buyers have more or less kept steady their purchases from traditional suppliers such as Australia and Russia at about 31 million mt and 16 million mt, respectively, last year. Indonesia increased its thermal coal shipments to South Korea in 2017 to 41.2… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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