Indonesia’s May thermal coal exports rises 6% on month; exports to China highest since Jan 2014

Indonesia exported 30.6 million mt of thermal coal in May, up 6% on the month and up 20% on the year, according to latest customs data. Sub-bituminous coal accounted for 86% of overall coal exports, or 26.4 million mt, with bituminous representing the rest.

India was the largest destination, taking 10.3 million mt, down 8 % on the month, but up 3% on the year. High Indian domestic stockpiles and seasonal monsoon had dampened some seaborne buying interest in May. Exports to China were 7.2 million mt in May, the highest since January 2014. The export figure was up 57% from April and increased more than one fold compared with a year ago.

An earlier than usual summer restocking and active Chinese tenders for Indonesian low-mid calorific value thermal coal cargoes offered support for seaborne demand and prices. Coupled with the reduction in the value added tax to 13% from 16%, exports to China were seen at a five-year high.

Outside these main markets, exports to other destinations stood 8.5 million mt. The majority of these volumes were to Southeast Asian countries, notably Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, and Malaysia.