Australia exported record high volumes of thermal coal to India in April, as changing trade flows reflect China’s ban on imports of Australian coal.

Australia’s thermal coal exports of 15.24 million metric tons (mt) in April increased from the eight-year low in March but declined by from April 2020, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

There were no shipments to China for the fourth consecutive month. Shipments to Vietnam also declined this year. These two things cause total shipments from January to April to be 10% lower on the year. This decline has been partially offset by increased shipments to India, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan in January-April. The higher shipments to South Korea, Taiwan and Japan are related to lower than average coal buying in the first half of 2020 following COVID-19 shutdowns that slowed industrial activity.

Australian exports to India hit a record high of 2.46 million mt in April.

Australian exports continued to move to smaller markets for its coal such as Indonesia, Thailand, the Netherlands, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, the Philippines and Pakistan, as suppliers continue to look to diversify in response to China’s import ban.