SHANGHAI, Dec. 14 (SMM) -- Australia cut coal output forecast in fiscal 2012, as recovery from natural disasters takes longer than expected but lifted its projection for iron ore production a touch. However, Australia slightly raised iron ore output forecast.
The world's top coking coal and iron ore exporter lowered its forecast for the production of coking coal, a key steelmaking material, by 6 percent to 161 million mt from its June forecast and cut its export forecast by 5 percent to156 million mt.
But output of iron ore, another key steelmaking ingredient, is seen at 470 million mt, 0.7 percent above earlier forecasts, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics said in a quarterly report.
It is expected that forecast cut of coking coal output will unlikely exert significant impact on market. The Australia central bank warned earlier that recovery from flood and hurricane in early 2011 takes longer than expected.
Steelease believes that lower forecast of coking coal output will not heavily affect China’s imports of coking coal. According to data from China Customs, proportion of Australian coking coal in China lowered, while proportion of Mongolian coking in China coal grew. Steelease believes that China’s imports of coking coal from Australia will continue to lower in 212. In addition, Steelease expects that average price of hard coking coal will be USD 246/mt in 2012.