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Highlights

Seaborne thermal coal supply will be tight in Asia by 2018 as a sharp reduction in Chinese imports is outpaced by strong demand growth in India, South Korea and Southeast Asia, according to Platts' analysis Tuesday.

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Asian demand for thermal coal is projected to rise 103.46 million mt to 845.05 million in 2018 from an estimated 741.59 million mt in 2014, data from Goldman Sachs and other industry sources showed.

Global seaborne exports are forecast to rise 56 million mt over the same period, the data showed.

The combined increase in imports by India, Indonesia, South Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand and Burma between 2014 and 2018 is forecast at 174.46 million mt, outpacing the estimated 71 million mt decline in imports to China over the same period, resulting in the net increase in Asian demand of 103.46 million mt, according to Platts' analysis of the data.


China's thermal coal imports are expected to decline to 75 million mt in 2018 from a forecast 146 million mt in 2014, Goldman Sachs data released May 23 showed.

India's thermal coal imports are expected to increase to 230 million mt in 2018, up 70 million mt from 2014, Goldman Sachs said.

Indonesia's thermal coal demand is forecast to rise to 113.55 million mt in 2018, up 40.46 million mt from 2014, state-run electric utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara's coal division head Helmi Najamuddin told an industry conference in Bali last Tuesday.

All Indonesia's requirements are met by domestic production.

South Korea's thermal coal imports are expected to rise to 128 million mt in 2018, up 25 million mt from 2014, Goldman Sachs said.

Malaysia's thermal coal imports are forecast to rise by 16 million mt to 35.5 million mt in 2018 from 19.5 million mt this year, Noor Asihin Surani of TNB Fuel, which procures fuel for the country's coal-fired power plants, said last Wednesday.

Japan's import demand will rise by 6 million mt to 150 million mt in 2018, while Taiwan's will rise by 4 million mt to 64 million mt, according to Goldman Sachs.

Platts estimated Vietnam's thermal coal imports in 2018 at 8 million mt, up 3 million mt from 2014.

The Philippines' thermal coal imports are forecast to rise by 5 million mt to 20 million mt in 2018, an industry source said.

Another industry source said Thailand's thermal coal imports are expected to rise to 19 million mt in 2018 from 17 million mt this year.

A source at a Japanese trading house estimated coal imports to Myanmar at 2 million mt in 2018, up from 1 million mt this year. There are also proposed power projects in Laos and Cambodia that could be on stream by 20128, he added, but could not provide coal demand projections for the countries.

Australia's thermal coal exports in 2018 are forecast at 218 million mt, up from 197 million mt this year, Goldman Sachs said.

INDONESIAN EXPORTS TO RISE

Seaborne exports of Indonesian thermal coal are expected to rise by 19 million to 411 million mt in 2018, from 392 million mt this year, Goldman Sachs said. It estimated Indonesia's total coal production in 2018 at 519 million mt, up 43 million mt from 476 million mt this year.

Thermal coal exports to Russia and will decline by 5 million mt over the same period to 102 million mt, and to the US by 6 million to 32 million mt, the bank said.

Colombia's thermal coal exports will rise by 18 million mt to 101 million mt in 2018 from 83 million mt this year, while South Africa's will rise by 7 million to 101 million mt over the same period, it said.

Thermal coal imports by other countries will rise 3 million mt from 2014 to 19 million mt in 2018, it added.

--Cecilia Quiambao, cecilia.quiambao@platts.com
--Edited by Wendy Wells, wendy.wells@platts.com