Coal market & pricing

Coal is a global industry, with coal mined commercially in over 50 countries and used in over 70. Coal is readily available from a wide variety of sources in a well-supplied worldwide market.

Coal Transport

Coal can be transported to demand centres quickly, safely and easily by ship and rail. A large number of suppliers are active in the international coal market, ensuring a competitive and efficient market. Coal markets today are very dynamic: a variety of qualities are traded, new price indexes have been created for different qualities in different regions and an increasing amount of paper trading is taking place.

Coal trade

Coal is traded all over the world, with coal shipped huge distances by sea to reach markets. Overall international trade in coal reached 1169 Mt in 2018; while this is a significant amount of coal it accounts for about 21% of total coal consumed. Most coal is used in the country in which it is produced.

Transportation costs account for a large share of the total delivered price of coal.

Based on information from the International Energy Agency, since 2000 global coal trade has increased by 148.1%.

  • Coal trade
  • Coal transportation
  • Top coal exporters & importers
  • Pricing
  • Coal market news

Photo courtesy of Assocarboni

Coal is likely to remain the most affordable fuel for power generation in many developing and industrialised countries for decades.

Top coal exporters & importers

Top coal exporters (2019)
Country Total
Indonesia 455 Mt
Australia 393 Mt
Russia 217 Mt
United States 84 Mt
Soth Africa 81 Mt

Source: IEA Coal Information 2019

Top coal importers (2019)
Country Total 
PR China 298 Mt
India 247 Mt
Japan 185 Mt
Korea 130Mt
Chinese Taipei 67 Mt

Source: IEA Coal Information 2019


Coal pricing

Coal prices have historically been lower and more stable than oil and gas prices. Coal is likely to remain the most affordable fuel for power generation in many developing and industrialised countries for decades. In countries with energy intensive industries, the impact of fuel and electricity price increases is compounded. High prices can lead to a loss of competitive advantage and in prolonged cases, loss of the industry altogether. Countries with access to indigenous energy supplies, or to affordable fuels from a well-supplied world market, can avoid many of these negative impacts, enabling further economic development and growth.

Coal market & pricing enquiries

The World Coal Association does not provide information on coal pricing. We are unable to supply pricing information, market forecasts or advice on where to buy and sell coal because of our ‘Competition and Compliance’ guidelines. Please direct enquiries on these areas to the companies and organisations such as: