Record shipment of US coal to China highlights pain in Australia

(Bloomberg) — China’s import ban on Australian coal is a boon to US producers.

On June 28, the Frontier Unity bulk carrier left the port of Newport News, Virginia with a cargo of 136,400 tons for steelmakers in China. It was the largest shipment of its kind from a U.S. East Coast port, according to miner Coronado Global Resources Inc.

For Coronado, it marks a stark turnaround in the fortunes of its US mines, which were temporarily shut down in March last year after pandemic lockdowns crushed demand. The company is benefiting from a price hike and the Chinese ban on Australian coal, which in March helped boost US exports to the Asian country to their highest levels since 2013.

“As a critical global supplier of metallurgical coal, our geographic diversification continues to benefit us as Chinese import restrictions on Australian coal continue,” Gerry Spindler, CEO of Coronado, which operates coal mines in the US and Australia, said in a statement Thursday. statement. “Our US operations continue to successfully move coal to China at record levels.”

Why China is falling out with Australia (and allies): QuickTake

While the US engaged in a very public trade war with Beijing under the Trump administration, it is coal from Australia that has been picked for sanctions after diplomatic tensions between the two countries escalated last year. BHP Group, one of Australia’s largest coal producers, said earlier this week it expected the ban to remain in place for several more years.

Coal prices have risen this year due to the strengthening of global demand for steel. The average selling price of Coronado across the portfolio was $105 per tonne in the June quarter, up 11% from the previous quarter.

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