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Australia revises up thermal coal benchmark price, export forecasts

The Australian government Monday revised up its thermal coal benchmark price for Japanese Fiscal Year 2018 (April-March), while also improving its export expectations for the country's coal.

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In the government's Resources and Energy Quarterly report, the JFY 2018 benchmark price is now projected to settle at $79/mt, lower than the JFY 2017 price of $84/mt but $5/mt higher than the forecast provided in its previous quarterly report.

"Prices are expected to ease through 2018 and early 2019, as supply rebounds and demand moderates," it said.

The Newcastle FOB spot price is expected to drop by 12% to an average of $77/mt in 2018, and by further 6% to $70/mt in 2019.

The JFY 2019 benchmark price is estimated at $74/mt, which is up from the previous forecast of $71/mt.

The report, which comes via the chief economist's office, also showed an upward revision in expected Australian thermal coal exports.

The country's exports are expected to be fairly steady, moving from 201 million mt in 2017 to 203 million mt in 2018 and to 202 million mt in 2019.

The 2018 and 2019 shipment figures are up from the department's previous quarterly expectations, which had pegged the volumes at 199 million mt for both years.

"Output is expected to be boosted by the ongoing expansions at Rolleston and at a significant number of mines in the NSW Hunter Valley region, including Ravensworth," it said.

--Nathan Richardson,
--Edited by Pankti Mehta,