Global coal supply is likely to have peaked in 2023 and then to decline in line with demand

Further growth in global coal demand in 2022, after the big rebound in 2021, pushed global coal supplies to new highs of about 8 582 Mt (up 7%). The increase was led by China, which drove up domestic production to reduce its exposure to high import prices and to avoid supply shortages. Indonesian production growth overtook Indian growth, with exports seeing a remarkable uptick to serve increased seaborne demand for thermal coal amid a rise in domestic demand.

Global coal production is forecast to have risen by 1.8% in 2023, with continued growth in India, China and Indonesia more than offsetting declines in the United States and the European Union. Thus, 2023 marks another all-time high in global coal production, totalling 8 741 Mt. Steam coal and lignite account for about 87% of global coal production and their growth in production accounts for similar share of the global production increase. Coking coal accounts for the balance, driven by strong growth in Mongolia.

For the forecast period, we expect a net reduction in global coal production starting in 2024, which would mean global coal production peaking in 2023 in line with global coal demand. Ongoing declines in the United States and the European Union are likely to be complemented by reduced production volumes in Indonesia, as Chinese demand for seaborne thermal coal is likely to decrease. The last bastion of remarkable growth in production is India, serving the growing demand from its power sector. Our model suggests that declines in other countries will more than offset this growth, resulting in global production of 8 394 Mt in 2026.

Next Trade