Why are ASX coal shares charging higher again today?

The global energy crisis has pushed coal prices to all-time highs.

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A female coal miner wearing a white hardhat and orange high-vis vest holds a lump of coal and smiles as the Whitehaven Coal share price rises today

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Key points

  • ASX coal shares gaining again today 
  • Global energy crunch sending coal prices to record-highs 
  • Leading Aussie coal miners have more than doubled in value in a year 

ASX coal shares are marching higher in early afternoon trade.

Again.

At time of writing the Yancoal Australia Ltd (ASX: YAL) share price is up 3.9% to $5.87; Whitehaven Coal Ltd (ASX: WHC) shares are up 1.9% to $5.28; and the New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX: NHC) share price is up 3.4% to $3.95.

While those gains may not sound extraordinary, they follow on a string of gains this calendar year.

While the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) has struggled in 2022, down 5.8%, ASX coal shares have made hay amid soaring prices for the commodity, used to make steel and run power plants.

That’s helped Yancoal gain 110% year-to-date, while Whitehaven shares have soared 91.3%, and the New Hope share price has rocketed 70.3%.

So, why are they gaining once more today?

Coal prices break new records

As The Australian reported this morning, coal prices have set yet another new record high, citing sources who reported a shipment of Aussie coal sold for US$442.50 yesterday. That’s a premium to the average price for Australian coal this week, which stood at some US$410 per tonne.

Coal prices have been rocketing higher alongside oil and gas as more nations join in banning Russian energy imports following its invasion of Ukraine. Russia is one of the world’s biggest coal producers.

Japan is among the latest major consumers of coal to announce its intentions to stop using Russian sourced coal. In 2021, Russia supplied 12% of Japan’s thermal coal imports.

With supplies of coal already tight amid resurgent post-pandemic demand, cutting Russia out of the loop has led to a series of new all-time highs for coal prices. The situation is unlikely to turnaround rapidly, with many years required to bring a new mine into production.

How have ASX coal shares performed over the past 12 months?

With both thermal and coking coal prices going through the roof, ASX coal shares have been making windfall profits, reflected in their soaring share prices.

Since this time last year, the Yancoal share price has gained 185.9%, the New Hope share price is up 206.6%, and White Haven shares have leapt 275.2%.

For some context, the ASX 200 is up 1.8% in a year.

The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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