In 2020, coal prices dropped to the lowest level since 2016 as coronavirus lockdowns undermined demand, but the EIA, IMF, and World Bank all expect a rebound in 2021According to the World Bank, Australian coal prices fell by 24 percent in August, compared with the same period of 2019, reaching a four-year low of $50.14 per tonne. In September and October, prices already began to climb, rebounding by 9 and 7 percent month-on-month, respectively.

  • The IEA reported that the 2020 drop in coal demand was the largest since World War II driven by reduced demand in almost every sector of every region in the world. Electricity sector consumption was acutely affected. Electricity generation from coal in the EU, for example, decreased by 11 percent in August. 

Leading international agencies uniformly expect a price rebound in 2021, but estimates vary:

  • The EIA in its latest Short-Term Energy Outlook forecasted that coal prices will increase to $56.7/mt in 2021 from $53.9/mt in 2020.
  • The World Bank October 2020 commodity forecast estimated that the price of coal will increase to $57.8/mt in 2021 from $57.3/mt in 2020, with slow price growth beyond 2021.
  • The IMF October 2020 release of the World Economic Outlook detailed an alternate scenario under which prices could reach $63.5/mt in 2021 and increase still further to 2023 to $73-76/mt.


Price forecasts of other critical commodities:

gold | silver | copper | aluminium | nickel | zinc | crude oil | natural gas 

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