NUSA DUA, Indonesia, May 10 (Reuters) – Asia’s coal miners, shippers and traders are seeing strong demand and rising prices for their fuel, and they expect this happy situation to persist for several years to come.
It was a challenge to find anybody pessimistic about the outlook for coal in Asia, the world’s largest producing and consuming region, at this week’s annual gathering of the industry on the Indonesian resort island of Bali.
This was in stark contrast to the Coaltrans Asia conferences in prior years, where the moods were gloomy as the industry battled to survive five years of declining prices from 2011 to 2015 and policies aimed at cutting the use of the polluting fuel in the two biggest importers, China and India.
Certainly, it would seem that the industry has some reason to be optimistic, with Chinese imports up 9.3 percent in the first four months of the year, and hopes that India’s two years of declining imports will end in 2018.
Prices are also performing better recently, with Australian benchmark thermal coal at Newcastle Port up to $101.35 a tonne in the week ended May 6, a gain of 11.6 percent from the low so far this year of $90.68 at the end of March.