If the early shipping data for April is anything to go by, Cyclone Debbie has left its mark on Australian coal exports.
They’ve plummeted, an unsurprising outcome given damage to supply routes along the mid-Queensland coast.
This chart from Westpac is an estimate of what Debbie and her damage has done to coal shipping volumes.
It’s big. Very big.
“Extrapolating from the shipments seen so far this month, we would expect 20.24 million tonnes of exports, compared to our estimate of 30.69 million tonnes last month and the peak of 37.87 million tonnes in December,” says Martina Song, macro strategist at Westpac.
“This however is likely to be revised a little higher at month end, as normal operations slowly resume.”
The sharp drop also explains while premium hard coking coal prices recently surged back over $150 a tonne, doubling from the pre-Debbie levels, as damage to railway infrastructure took out around half of global seaborne supply.
Supply disruptions are now slowly easing with the Goonyella train line, operated by Aurizon, expected to resume normal operation around April 26.