Australian coal exporters are suffering through the biggest annual drop in thermal coal prices in more than a decade in this year.
The spot price of thermal coal, which is burned to generate electricity, was US$66.20 last week, down more than a third from US$100.73 a year earlier.
It is expected to cut export earnings from the industry from last year’s record A$26bn to A$20.6bn this year and A$18.8bn next year, according to the government’s latest resources and quarterly energy report.
Global thermal coal use declined this year after rising in 2017 and 2018, but forecast a slight increase over the next five years as rising demand from India offset a shift away from it in Europe and the US, as per the International Energy Agency.
The decrease has been driven by a historically sharp reduction in Europe, where demand for coal-fired power fell 23%, and the US, where it dropped 14% in the first nine months of the year despite Donald Trump’s vow that he would resurrect the local industry.
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