International Coal Retainer Service

About the International Coal Service

Despite increasing interest in renewable sources of electricity generation, coal remains a leading fuel for electricity generation and industrial energy supply across the globe. Coal markets have become increasingly liquid, with spot markets gaining increased presence.  High oil prices, political instability, the persistence of oil-linked gas contracts in much of the world, nuclear safety concerns, quantum advances in emissions technologies, and the limits of renewable energy technologies continue to support coal’s use.

With coal increasingly being traded and hedged in short-term spot markets as a global commodity, there has never been a more important time to understand the international coal market and the influence that it has on regional gas and electricity markets.

The International Coal Service applies PIRA's no-nonsense analysis of market fundamentals to global coal markets, leveraging our extensive expertise of downstream electricity markets with a rigorous assessment of the supply-side fundamentals.  PIRA analyzes coal as a complete market — where economics dictate the destination of the incremental ton across thousands of miles of ocean.

The International Coal Service picks up where coal journals leave off by providing an understanding of the complex, ever-changing relationships that interact to determine global price movements.  By looking at the fundamentals affecting coal markets, PIRA provides a structured assessment and outlook that identifies market opportunities for clients, not just for coal, but in electricity, shipping, natural gas and financial markets.

Key Features of the International Coal Service

PIRA’s International Coal provides critical analysis on:

  • Demand in North America, Europe and Asia, integrating the outlook with PIRA’s coverage of electricity, gas and oil markets.
  • Monthly coal production among the main producing nations, plus annual coverage of more than 20 other countries/regions.
  • Developments in coal trade, including exports, imports and global shipping markets.
  • Regulatory developments, including emissions markets.
  • Global economic developments, including exchange-rate movements and the key macroeconomic drivers in each region.
  • Forecasts of global coal prices in North America (CAPP, NAPP, Illinois Basin and the Southern Powder River Basin), Europe and Japan, with producer prices in Australia, South Africa and Colombia.

What Do International Coal Clients Receive?

The Coal “Deliverables”:

The Monthly International Thermal Coal Market Forecast

The cornerstone of the International Coal Service, this report provides clients with an up-to-date appraisal of international thermal coal markets, focusing on the heavily traded markets in the Atlantic and Pacific basins.The text sections of the report are as follows:

  • Summary and Scoreboard — A need-to-know summary of the International Thermal Coal Market Forecast, with a quick-reference scoreboard is provided on the first two pages of every report. Don’t have time for a detailed read? Here are all the essentials up front.
  • Global Coal Demand — Leveraging PIRA’s analysis of downstream electricity markets, this section takes an in-depth look at the demand of major thermal coal consumers in the Atlantic and Pacific basins. The section includes analysis of weather, inter-fuel substitution, and a guide to developments in market fundamentals, as well as reviewing exchange rate developments.
  • Global Coal Production — This section examines the latest monthly data from the top six producing nations: China, U.S., India, Australia, South Africa and Russia. The section also looks at new mining activity and developments that will affect future coal production.
  • Coal Trade and Shipping — Analyzing shipping markets and rail and port capacities is critical to constructing a global assessment of coal markets. PIRA’s analysis goes even further, studying coal stocks in countries and at key ports throughout the world, the latest trade data, and outlook for dry bulk freight markets.
  • Thermal Coal Prices and Sensitivities — Current market prices, shipping spreads and forwards, and details on PIRA’s price forecasts for Northwest Europe (CIF ARA), North America (NYMEX) and Japan (CIF Japan), as well as FOB prices in Australia (FOB Newcastle), South Africa (FOB Richards Bay) and Colombia (FOB Bolivar). This section explains the market opportunities and risks as they develop over the course of the next 12-18 months.

Monthly U.S. Coal Market Forecast

This report provides analysis and data on a wide range of issues affecting supply, demand, balances, and ultimately, prices of coal in various U.S. regions. As a natural complement to both PIRA's regular power grid and emissions market coverage, the U.S. Coal Market Forecast explains the interplay of such factors as production, emissions markets, weather, transportation, natural gas competition, and the economy. The end result is a comprehensive, yet easy-to-read report that provides the same kind of fundamentals-based analysis and forecasts included in the monthly thermal coal report.  The analysis is underpinned by data tables, which cover:

  • Regional coal production and net exports (by region)
  • U.S. coal production and net exports
  • Regional coal demand for electric power and other sectors
  • Power sector coal inventory levels and prices
  • Stocks by rank (bituminous, sub-bituminous and lignite)
  • Coal price forecasts for CAPP Barge and Rail products, the Illinois Basin, NAPP and the Southern Powder River Basin
  • U.S. physical prices and OTC prices 

Weekly Scorecard

The Weekly Scorecard summarizes important developments in international coal markets during the intervening weeks between the monthly reports. More than just a recap, the Scorecard concentrates on market fundamentals affecting coal prices over the next 90-days.

U.S. Coal Stockpile Estimates

This monthly report assesses electric power sector (EPS) coal inventories by region for the current calendar month. It leverages one of PIRA’s strengths — our regional power and fuel consumption projections — in order to project a forward-looking days cover (or days burn) estimate for each of 10 specific regions and the U.S. in total. All of the major coal basins are represented across the respective EPS coal stock regions that PIRA models.

Monthly Dry Bulk Freight Market Forecast

The Dry Bulk Freight Market Forecast analyzes the supply and demand fundamentals of coal, iron ore and steel freight markets.  This monthly report, providing an up-to-date market review and forward outlook, is supplemented every third month by enhanced coverage, featuring additional data granularity, tables, and forecasts.

Coal Prices on the Energy Price Portal

All of PIRA’s price forecasts and histories are available through this single interface. International Coal clients get access to prices for:








CIF Japan



FOB Bolivar



FOB Newcastle

Illinois Basin Barge PHY

FOB Richards Bay

Current Issues Bulletins

These one-off reports provide clients with briefs on important issues confronting international coal markets. They include a higher level of detail and currency on relevant topics affecting both the long- and short-term outlook.

Online Database Access

The International Coal Service clients are able to access a special online data portal, providing regular updates on coal production, consumption, trade, and shipping rates, port information and over 2,000 shipping distances. Clients are also able to examine coal netbacks to producer ports of origin based both on latest trade data and user inputs, while utilizing a conversion calculator to facilitate quick comparisons between different coal grades and alternative fuels.  Further, macroeconomic data (currencies, U.S. economy and manufacturing, world economies and air travel) is also available to PIRA’s coal clients.

Access to PIRA Staff

One-on-one interaction between our clients and our energy analysts is one of the cornerstones of PIRA’s Retainer Services. As such, PIRA also provides access to the Coal Markets Group so clients can discuss particular issues that are relevant to their individual company on a confidential basis.

Who Can Benefit from the International Coal Service

Coal is no longer the stable, reliable sleeping giant. It is the largest source of global electricity generation, a key fuel supply for heavy industry, and a dynamic international commodity. Anyone with exposure to electricity markets depends on up-to-date and complete coverage of upstream fuel markets. For them, even small, unhedged movements in coal prices can mean millions in earnings performance. The International Coal Service provides the critical market intelligence that can be relied on — and profited on — by these decision-makers:

  • Electric utilities and other coal consumers. International Coal helps them make decisions on where and when to secure coal supply, improving supply flexibility and diversifying supply sources.
  • Traders and marketers.  International Coal provides critical market intelligence for coal, gas and electricity traders, who need to know the cost of coal to evaluate future coal-gas and coal-electricity spreads to gauge inter-fuel competition and profitable market opportunities.
  • Coal producers. This service helps marketers to anticipate marketing opportunities before they occur, and monitor supply- and demand-side developments across the globe.
  • Shipping merchants. The International Coal Service provides valuable insights into the demand for shipping services along the major seaborne coal and iron ore routes.

Banks and financial institutions. The profitability of coal companies depends critically on the price. Will the bull run return? Will new mine projects flood the market and crush profitability or will producers shelve expansion plans? For anyone with exposure to the massive infrastructure investments of siting mines or building power stations, well researched answers to these questions are imperative. The International Coal Service not only provides analysis on next month’s market, but also updates on supply/demand over the longer term — crucial information for companies evaluating multi-million investments.

The Coal Markets Group

Dan Klein (Managing Director, International Coal) oversees PIRA’s International Coal Retainer Service. He is responsible for the International Thermal Coal Market Forecast and International Coal Markets Scorecard, and he contributes to the U.S. Coal Market Forecast. Prior to directing the International Coal Service, Mr. Klein was a member of PIRA’s North American Electricity team. He has a BA in economics from Calvin College.

Robert (Bob) Roth (Senior Director, North American Coal) joined PIRA in 2008 and is responsible for PIRA’s U.S. Coal Market Forecast. Bob comes to PIRA from Louis Dreyfus Highbridge Energy Services, where he was responsible for global coal and emissions analytics. Prior to LDH, as Director of Energy Economics at Peabody Energy, he developed Peabody’s U.S. coal demand model and analysis of the energy marketplace and regional coal markets. Bob holds an M.S. and B.S. in economics from Illinois State University.

Allan M. Stewart (Executive Director, North American Electricity) directs the analysis of electric power, coal and other related fuel and emissions markets, translating PIRA's market analysis into commercial strategies for electricity and other energy companies. Prior to joining PIRA in 1992, Mr. Stewart spent over 18 years with Consolidated Edison Company in senior positions in supply, business development, planning, marketing, rates, engineering, operations, and information policy. He earned his BS in civil engineering at the State University of New York in Buffalo and an MBA in finance and investments from Adelphi University.

Morris J. Greenberg (Managing Director, North American Electricity) has developed short-term and long-term regional electricity-pricing models based on detailed analysis of North American electric supply, demand and pricing.  He has 20 years of experience in consulting, planning and finance. Prior joining PIRA in 1994, he was a Vice President and Senior Energy Analyst at Lehman Brothers and Director of the WEFA Energy Group.  Mr. Greenberg has a BS in Economics from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and an MS in Economics from Temple University.

Bruno Brunetti (Senior Director, European Electricity) joined PIRA Energy in 2001 and manages PIRA's European Electricity Service.  Prior to PIRA, he was at Caminus Corp., where he carried out a wide range of market studies, providing advice to a significant number of new projects as well as working on acquisition and divestment of assets across Europe. Bruno began his career in the strategic planning department of Enel in Rome. Bruno graduated magna cum laude in economics and management from Bari University (Italy) and obtained a masters degree in energy economics from the ENSPM, the School of the French Institute of Petroleum (Paris).


The International Coal Service can be purchased on its own or, at a discount, as an add-on for clients to PIRA’s Global Oil Retainer, North American Natural Gas Retainer or European Natural Gas Retainer, or North American Electricity or European Electricity. The extent of the discount depends on the client's current package. For options and fees, please contact your PIRA sales representative.