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Bayswater Power Station in New South Wales, Australia. (Image by Webaware, Wikimedia Commons).

The Minerals Council of Australia released a report related to the outlook for seaborne thermal coal in terms of demand to 2030 in the Asia Pacific region.

The report was commissioned to Commodity Insights and it states that Asian thermal coal imports are expected to grow by more than 270 million tonnes (Mt) to 1.1 billion tonnes per annum over the next decade. The market analyst says that this growth stands on the same drivers that allowed seaborne thermal coal volumes to double between 2006 and 2019, from 500Mt to 1,000Mt, rising in volume every year of that period except in 2015.

These driving factors are high electricity demand across developing nations, pushed by strong economic growth, increasing industrialization and higher electrification rates; high population growth, particularly India and Southeast Asia; significant coal-fired generation capacity commissioned in many countries; and, in some regions, an inability of domestic coal production to keep pace with demand growth, amplified by increasing demand for high-quality thermal coal, which is typical of seaborne traded coals.

According to the report, even though growth will be negative in 2020 due to the impact of covid-19, it will be followed by a solid recovery and most countries are expected to increase imports, with only Taiwan and Korea reducing volumes.

Moreover, five countries – among them The Philippines, India, and Vietnam – are forecast to increase demand by more than 30Mt.

In Commodity Insights’ view, such a rise illustrates the breadth of market demand growth for imported thermal coal – which is not reliant on growth from China.