China's unofficial ban on Australian coal sees exports halt as trade war rages

Thermal coal exports to China from Australia's busiest coal terminal have completely stopped amid escalating trade tensions and an unofficial Chinese ban on Australian coal.

Newcastle is the largest coal port in the world and trade with China made up 20 per cent of its exports last year.

But no ships have left for China in December and there are none listed in the schedule leading up to Christmas.

More than 100 other bulk carriers are scheduled to depart Newcastle carrying coal, mainly to Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

Braemar ACM Shipbroking analyst Abhinav Gupta said cargo tracking data for the fourth quarter of 2020 clearly illustrated the dramatic decline.

"In the fourth quarter of 2018 we had about 6.5 million tonnes of coal being exported from Newcastle to China," he said.

"Last year it was about 9 million tonnes and this year it's only been about 1.6 million tonnes, so that's a decline of 82 per cent year on year. "It's a very, very sharp decline and that is indeed a big surprise for us."

Read the full article published in ABC News 9th December 2020