Australia is an important source of imports for China's coking coal market
Australia is a country rich in mineral resources. It is also known as "the country sitting on a harvester". The most important minerals are coal and iron ore (466, 4.00, 0.87%). According to the Australian bureau of agriculture and resources economics, Australia has 76.2 billion tons of proven coal reserves, the fourth largest in the world.
Australia has a complete range of coal resources, including anthracite, semi-anthracite, bituminous coal, sub-bituminous coal, lignite and so on. At the same time, the coal quality is good, mostly for the open pit mine, its commercial coal sulfur content, ash content are not high. Geographically, almost all of Australia's coal is concentrated in the eastern states of Queensland and new south wales, which account for 98 percent of the country's coal.
From the perspective of corporate composition, Australia's coal resources are relatively concentrated, with the top 10 producers basically monopolizing the country's coal supply. Glencore, BHP billiton, yancoal Australia, Peabody and Anglo American account for almost 80 per cent of Australia's coal supply. Thus it can be seen that the enterprise concentration degree of commodity coal industry in Australia is very high, and the resource market has formed a certain oligopoly pattern.
Australia exports most of its coal to the rest of the world, except for a small portion used in domestic power plants and steel. Although it is the world's fifth-largest coal producer, Australia is the second largest exporter of coal in the international seaborne coal market (the first being Indonesia). Australia is by far the largest export market for met coal. In 2017, Australia exported 173 million tons of met coal, accounting for 58 percent of global exports, according to the latest figures from the international coal association. Japan, India, South Korea and China constitute the main target group of Australia's metallurgical coal exports.
According to the Australian department of industry, science and resources, 19 percent of Australia's metallurgical coal exports went to China in 2017, a nearly four-year high. This is directly related to the profit recovery of China's steel market in 2017 and the improvement of demand for high-quality primary coking coal with low sulfur and low ash. In that year, the average import price of high quality main coking coal in China was as high as us $189.4 / ton.