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Australian Receipts Drive Turkish Coking Coal Imports



July 2, 2019 - Turkey imported 704,393t of coking coal in May, up by 44.7pc on the year, trade data show, driven by a surge in shipments from Australia.

Receipts from Australia totalled 545,368t, up from nothing in May last year, and the largest monthly volume from any exporter in January-May.

Australia remained Turkey's largest coking coal supplier in the first five months of the year, shipping 1.22mn t — more than double its deliveries in January-May 2018 — despite making no shipments in January and April.

The increase from Australia comes after a decline earlier this year. Shipments from Queensland were below average for the first few months of this year because of maintenance problems, bad weather and a derailment that stopped deliveries to the port of Dalrymple Bay for several days in March. These problems have now mainly been resolved, with shipments increasing in June and new and restarted coal mines bringing additional capacity on line.

Turkey sourced the remaining 159,025t of last month's coking coal imports from the US, down by 49.3pc on the year. US exports to Turkey totalled 308,606t in January-May, also down by 49.3pc. But US shipments could rise following Turkey's decision to cut customs duty on imports of US coking coal to 5pc from 10pc, after the US halved its tax on imports of Turkish steel to 25pc in May.

Other Suppliers Gain Ground

When Australian shipments were disrupted earlier this year, Turkey turned to other countries to make up the shortfall.

In addition to the U.S., Turkey sourced coking coal from Russia, Colombia and Canada. Russian shipments to Turkey totalled 234,337t in January-May, up nearly fourfold on the year and reflecting growing interest in Russian material in Europe and the Middle East. A weaker steel outlook and increased iron ore costs mean Turkish mills are increasingly open to purchasing competitively priced tier-two or tier-three coal from various origins when faced with a significant premium for tier-one Australian low-volatile coals.

Exports of coking coal from Canada to Turkey reached 421,960t in January-May, up by 24.6pc.

Colombia shipped 139,421t, down by 56.5pc, reflecting growing competition from Russia and the U.S.