Indonesia has Solidified its Position as the Global Leading Provider of Coal

Indonesia has solidified its position as the leading provider of high-emission thermal coal by achieving a record-breaking export of over 413 million metric tons during the first ten months of 2023. This figure reflects a substantial 11.5% increase in Indonesian shipments compared to the same period in 2022, which is approximately double the growth rate of global coal exports. These numbers are expected to reach new records in 2023, despite ongoing efforts to transition major energy systems away from fossil fuels.

Remarkably, for the first time, Indonesia’s share of global thermal coal exports during the January to October period exceeded 50%, according to data from Kpler. This demonstrates Indonesia’s success in gaining a larger market share at the expense of its competing exporters.

Australia, the second-largest coal exporter, saw its market share decrease from 20% in 2022 to 19.4% for the first ten months of 2023. Meanwhile, Russia, the third-largest exporter, experienced a decline in market share from 12.3% in 2022 to 11% in 2023. South Africa and Colombia, the fourth and fifth-largest exporters, also ceded market share to Indonesia in 2023, while the United States, the sixth-largest exporter, saw a slight increase in its global share.

China emerged as the primary destination for Indonesian coal, alongside Hong Kong, receiving a total of 183 million tons of coal through October. This amounted to approximately 44% of Indonesia’s total coal exports. This figure marked a significant 33% increase from the corresponding period in 2022, indicating a resurgence in Chinese industrial activity in 2023 compared to the subdued demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic last year.

India ranked as the second-largest purchaser of Indonesian coal, securing roughly 20% of the total exports, which equated to 82 million tons. The Philippines came in third place as a market for Indonesian coal, with a 7.2% share, receiving 30 million tons.

Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan were also significant buyers of Indonesian coal. Similar to China, these countries are expected to ramp up their coal imports in the final months of the year as utility companies build up their coal stockpiles in preparation for the seasonal increase in power demand for heating.

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