Goldman almost doubles Asia coal forecast on supply crunch

(Bloomberg) -- Goldman Sachs Group Inc. almost doubled its outlook for Asian coal prices as a global recovery in power demand and production issues in key mining countries combine to make supply scarce.

Benchmark Newcastle thermal coal will average US$190 a ton in the fourth quarter, up from a previous forecast of US$100, to meet demand in the northern hemisphere winter and taking account of a global rally in natural gas, analysts Paul Young and Hugo Nicolaci said Tuesday in a research note. The bank lifted its 2022 forecast to US$120 a ton from US$85.

Global coal exports from major producers were up about 8% in May and June, as a rebound in Indonesian supply was dimmed by lower output in Australia, South Africa and Colombia.

Meanwhile, purchases in the big importers including Japan, South Korea and China were up 16% in June. Newcastle coal rose to US$181 a ton as of Sept 13, according to weekly data published by China Coal Resource.

The bank also lifted forecasts for coking coal used to make steel, with fourth-quarter prices now seen 48% higher at US$230 a ton, while it raised its 2022 average by 13% to US$175. Australian coking coal futures on the Singapore Exchange settled at US$365.50 a ton on Tuesday.

Gains have been supported by a decline in Chinese domestic coal production and the strength of demand from nations including Japan, Taiwan and India, according to the analysts. Chinese steel production curbs should help ease prices toward the end of the year, Goldman said.

Goldman also raised target prices for shares of Australian miners including South32 Ltd., Whitehaven Coal Ltd. and Coronado Global Resources Inc.

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