Booming Asian coal demand to drive exports from North America’s West Coast

Coal demand is declining in the US and Europe, but coal remains the world’s most dominant fuel for power generation. Despite what you may read, the global market for thermal coal continues to gain steam, particularly as Asia builds new coal-fired power plants to charge its growing economies. This year, India is likely to surpass the US as the world’s second largest coal producer, with production in the South Asian country expected to total more than 700 million mt compared with 685 million mt in the US. China is the globe’s biggest producer of coal, at roughly 3.7 billion mt, and also the world’s biggest importer, at roughly 220 million mt. In a few years, however, India is expected to overtake China to become the top importer, as a growing population seeks to electrify their economy with an inexpensive fuel that can provide reliable baseload generation. It’s an affirmation of the significant structural changes underway in the global coal market: coal demand is declining in the West, but growing in the East. For the US, this means that even as domestic coal demand wanes, new export opportunities are emerging, with shipments from the West coast of North America ramping up.… continue reading

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