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Indonesia sees 2018 coal exports rising 7% to 371 mil mt: official

Jakarta — Indonesia's coal exports are forecast to reach 371 million mt this year,up 7% from last year, a senior government official said Friday.

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Assuming an average price of $80/mt, the value of coal exports this yearis expected to reach $29.68 billion, according to Bambang Gatot Ariyono,mineral and coal director general at the Energy and Mines Ministry.

Indonesia also aims to produce 485 million mt of coal in 2018, up 5% yearon year, the official said.

The increase in production this year is expected to be triggered byvarious factors, particularly the expectation of higher prices, he said.

"The government controls the coal production through approval of a workand budget plan submitted by miners," he said. "So miners will not be able toincrease production without the government's approval.

"The government will allow production to increase by 5% compared withlast year's realized figure," he said. "It's about 485 million mt."

Producers will also have to meet domestic demand, which is expected toreach 114 million mt this year. That compares with 97 million mt in 2017,which turned out lower than expected, Gatot said.

That was due primarily to reduced industry needs and the delay incompletion of power plant projects, Gatot said.

Indonesia missed its 2017 target of 471 million mt production, due tovarious factors such as weather conditions and the availability of heavyequipment to help mining activities, Gatot said.

Indonesia's average coal price average -- known as Harga Acuan Batubara-- in January is $95.54/mt, a 1.6% increase from December due to increaseddemand from countries such as Vietnam, China and India. In 2017, the averagecoal price was $70/mt.

--Anita Nugraha,

--Edited by Jonathan Fox,