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Turkish Coking Coal Imports Rise in August



October 6, 2019 - Turkey imported 353,670t of coking coal in August, up by 30pc year on year, on the back of increased shipments from Australia, trade data show.

Receipts from Australia totalled 346,282t, accounting for the majority of August imports while the remaining 7,388t was shipped from Russia.

Imports from Australia from January to August totalled 2mn t, more than double a year earlier. Australia is expected to ship more coking coal this year, as Queensland ports increase throughput despite maintenance issues.

Declining seaborne coking coal prices in the summer and weak Chinese demand driven by import restrictions are likely to have also contributed to the increase in August shipments from Australia. Australia shipped 428,396t of coking coal to Turkey in July. The Argus assessed low-volatile fob Australia price fell to around $155.83/t in August, down from a year to date average of $188.77/t and down from $216.50/t at the beginning of the year.

Turkey's imports of Russian coking coal totalled 274,311t in January-August, more than double the volume in 2018, boosted by plans by Russian mining firms to drive export sales of coking coal. Russian coking coal output is projected to increase by 45.4pc to 147mn t by 2035 from 101.1mn t last year, according to its energy ministry's draft programme for the development of the coal industry.

There were no imports from the US in August compared with 13,514t in the same month last year, despite earlier expectations that Turkey cutting its customs duty on imports of US coking coal to 5pc from 10pc would help drive US sales. But some market participants are less bullish about the impact of the customs duty reduction as several US coal grades are still not able to meet Turkey's cap on sulphur content. The US shipped 1.50mn t of coking coal to Turkey in January-August last year, down by 58.1pc compared with the same period this year.

There were no Colombian exports of coking coal to Turkey in August, while year to date imports have fallen by 63.9pc on the year to 189,423t. Colombia's coking coal exports have fallen this year because of the comparatively lucrative met coke market. More than half of the 3.53mn t of coking coal produced in the first half of this year was processed into met coke.

Turkey imported 3.67mn t of coking coal in the first nine months of the year, largely unchanged from the 3.50mn t imported in the same period last year.

But Turkish imports for the rest of this year may see a boost from recent spot buying. With the low-volatile fob Australia price falling to its lowest so far this year of $128.50/t at the end of September, a Turkish mill issued two spot tenders within a fortnight of each other seeking two Panamax cargoes and a Capesize cargo. The tenders generated significant interest among Asia-Pacific and Atlantic suppliers, eager to shift volumes in an otherwise lacklustre spot market.