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Saturday, 16 January 21
SEABORNE TRADE IN STEAM COAL DECREASED BY 11.6% FROM 937 MILLION TONNES IN 2019 TO 828 MILLION TONNES IN 2020 - COAL IMPORTERS ASSOCIATION, GERMANY
Germany Coal Importers AssociationAccording to preliminary calculations by the German Coal Importers Association (Verein der Kohlenimporteure e. V.), global hard coal production decreased by 3.0% to 7.0 billion t in 2020. While production in China increased by 100 million ton or 2.7% and it also increased in India by around 20 million ton  (+2.8%), production in all other countries decreased to a greater or lesser extent. 
 
This was particularly the case for the countries involved in world hard coal trade, which suffered from the Corona-related economic slump. World seaborne hard coal trade fell Corona-caused by 10.9% in 2020. Colombia (-33%) and the USA (-29%) were hit particularly hard, suffering from the drop in demand on the Atlantic market. 
 
According to German Coal Importers Association, the Southeast Asian economies recovered comparatively quickly from the Corona crisis. Export declines were therefore lower for South Africa (-2%) and Australia (-6%) because they increasingly serve this market. Canadian exports - mainly coking coal - even increased slightly (+3%).
 
German hard coal imports fell significantly by 24% or 10.4 million tons in 2020. Imports of coking coal fell by 11%, and imports of steam coal by 29%. Power generation from hard coal decreased by 26%. This was caused more importantly by the Covid-19 crisis combined with prioritized grid access for renewables and intense competition from gas-fired power plants. Compared to 2015, power generation from hard coal decreased to 1/3. However, this also means that this third is currently still needed on the market!, said German Coal Importers Association in its latest press release.
 
The first decommissioning tender in the ending of coal-fired power generation reveals that the design of the coal phase-out is off-target. Not the oldest, but surprisingly the youngest, most modern and largest coal-fired power plants are going first. Secured capacity will soon be in short supply in Germany. Hard-coal-fired power plants are flexible and could support renewables precisely.
 
German Coal Importers Association further noted that, seaborne trade in steam coal decreased by 11.6% from 937 million tonnes in 2019 to 828 million tonnes in 2020. In Asia, hard coal continues to be indispensable in many countries. However, demand is partly shifting towards the smaller emerging economies such as Malaysia, Thailand or Vietnam.


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