In this commentary, the authors take a look back at the development of coal markets over the last decade. In the 2000s, the demand for coal increased very strongly. This growth has not continued from 2009 to 2019. A different economic structure in China, the shale gas revolution in the USA and the rise of wind and solar energy slowed down the increase in demand. Spatially, the markets for coal have shifted further to Asia. China, India and Southeast Asia accounted for almost 70 percent of demand in 2019. Demand for coal reached its global peak in 2013. Since then it has been declining (despite a small upswing in 2017/2018). Nevertheless, coal is still the second largest primary energy source after oil and the largest source of electricity in the world. The future of coal will be decided in a few countries or regions: in China, India, Pakistan and Southeast Asia.