South East Asia set to enter coal importer big leagues
Southeast Asia only accounts for around 12% of global thermal coal imports, so is often overshadowed by China and India in discussions about key coal consumer markets and the associated impact on emissions.
However, the region routinely imports well over 100 million tonnes of coal annually, and has outpaced other major importers in terms of annual growth rates since 2018, expanding at an average rate of 14% per year, flows data from Kpler shows.
That growth pace compares to 3% for China and 13% for India, and if sustained means that the region could soon emerge as a powerful driver of global coal use that could offset coal usage declines that are expected in other markets.
What's more, due to the varied nature of the area's economies, political systems and demographic trends, the Southeast Asian region as a whole may be less likely to comply with global targets to reduce coal use, and less susceptible to international pressure to reverse emissions trajectories.