Thermal coal prices 2013-2019

The price for one metric ton of thermal coal amounted to an average of 77.9 U.S. dollars in 2019. This was a notable decline compared to the previous year, when figures had peaked at 107 U.S. dollars per metric ton. Thermal coal, also known as steam coal, is used to generate electricity and its properties include a high moisture and low energy content. It is differentiated from coking coal, or metallurgical coal, which is largely used for steel production. Steam coal prices tend to be lower than coking coal prices, as coking coal requires less impurities.

Coal consumption worldwide

Between 1998 and 2019, global coal consumption increased by some 63 exajoules, amounting to roughly 158 exajoules as of 2019.
Today, China and India are the two leading coal consumers worldwide, at 82 and 19 exajoules, respectively. The two most populous countries on the planet accounted for over half of total coal consumption in 2019. The United States rank third. However, the North American country has decreased its coal consumption for electricity generation since 2008. This is largely the result of electric utilities switching to cheaper means for energy production such as natural gas and renewables, as well as growing concerns over greenhouse gas emissions.

Thermal coal prices from 2013 to 2019 (in U.S. dollars per metric ton)*

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Release date




Survey time period

2013 to 2019

Supplementary notes

Prices referenced are Australian coal prices, as it is the main benchmark for the Asian market, and has the following specifications: coal (Australia), thermal, f.o.b. piers, Newcastle/Port Kembla, 6,700 kcal/kg, 90 days forward delivery.

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