Russian Coal Goes East


The export of Russian coal has decreased due to the gradual abandonment of it by the European Union. Against this background, Russia is reorienting coal exports to Asia, but it has not yet been possible to compensate for the losses.


In March 2022, after the start of Russia's military operation, Russian coal exports to non-CIS countries decreased by 5% compared to March 2021 and amounted to 15.7 million tons. Despite the coronavirus, the exports grew throughout January and February, but fell by 2.2% in the first quarter.

As part of the fifth package of sanctions adopted in April, the European Union decided to reduce coal imports from Russia up to a full embargo, allowing European companies to complete existing contracts until August. In addition, the sanctions also affected the gas cooperation of the parties.

The UK has already reduced imports by 50%, Germany – by 70% to 132 thousand tons, and Poland - by 6.3%. Commenting on these figures, experts note a discrepancy between the harsh rhetoric of Poland, which has spoken louder than others against energy cooperation with Russia, and its real actions. Russian fuel accounts for about 20% of Poland's total coal consumption, and the actual refusal will be difficult.

Against the background of the European embargo, Russia announced the possibility of redirecting its exports from Europe to the Asia-Pacific countries. At the same time, as the figures show, in March it was not possible to cover the costs of reducing European imports at the expense of Asia. India's imports really increased 2.2 times and amounted to 848 thousand tons. Supplies to Turkey also increased by 37%, to 1.5 million tons. Shipments to China, on the contrary, decreased by 12% to 1.6 million tons.

Along with the aforementioned factors coal production is falling. According to Rosstat, by the end of March 2022, coal production of all grades fell by 2.9%, to 37.1 million tons.

The revenue of coal miners is now saved by high quotes. At the beginning of the year, coal prices were at around $ 125 per ton, but after a significant jump in prices in March, when coal cost more than $ 400 per ton, the price was fixed at above $ 310.

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