Coal exports improve in SA

SOUTH Africa’s Richards Bay Coal Terminal has exported 5.56 million tonnes of coal in October, up 6.2% on the 5.24Mt it shifted in September.

Noel Dyson

Free on board spot prices of high-quality South African coal recently fell to their lowest level in the two years since energy intelligence company ICIS started collecting the data.

ICIS data shows a November-loading FOB physical cargo changed hands at $US77 a tonne.

Levels have since recovered with a December 2013 deal trading at $80.50.

While the RBCT had an increase of cargo shifted from September, its throughput was down 24.7% year-on-year.

Coal exports from the terminal in the first 10 months of the year amounted to 55Mt, a 7.5% increase compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.

Stocks at the terminal were flat month on month at 4Mt at the end of October.

The port received 5.5Mt of coal over the month, down from the 6.1Mt transported to RBCT in September.

Stock was 7% below the 4.3Mt of coal inventories held in October 2011.

However, traders said last month that the 4Mt of stock would take several weeks to shift, should Chinese and Indian buyers begin restocking ahead of winter.

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