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Indonesia’s Coal Exports Slide 18% as Overseas Demand Weakens

Coal exports from Indonesia, the world’s biggest exporter of the power-station fuel, have fallen 18 percent so far this year as overseas demand weakens, according to the country’s Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry.
Shipments dropped to 186.8 million metric tons in January to July from 227.9 million tons a year earlier, Adhi Wibowo, director for the ministry’s coal business, said by text message on Wednesday. Exports are down because of slumping demand from overseas buyers, Wibowo said, without specifying any countries.
Benchmark Asian thermal coal prices are heading for a fifth annual loss after Australia and other producers flooded the market and demand faltered in China, the biggest consumer, because of stricter environmental controls and support for domestic miners. About a quarter of Indonesia’s coal export were destined for China from 2008 to 2013, according to the ministry’s data.
Indonesia was the hardest hit of China’s coal suppliers in the first half of the year as the country’s imports fell 38 percent, the biggest drop for that the period in at least five years, according to most-recent China customs data published last month. Shipments from Indonesia declined 49 percent, the most of China’s five largest suppliers.
Indonesia mined 232.9 million tons of coal during the January-July period, down 15 percent from 274.9 million tons a year earlier, Wibowo said. Domestic consumption fell to 46.1 million tons in the same period from 47 million tons, he said.
Australia’s Newcastle coal, an Asian marker grade, has fallen about 13 percent in the last 12 months to $59.54 a ton as of Aug. 7. Indonesia last month cut its benchmark price to a record low of $59.16 a ton.