Richards Bay, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 16 March 2010 – Prices for coal shipped from the South African port of Richards Bay “’ the continent’s biggest coal export terminal “’ have fallen for the first time in four weeks in the wake of weakening European demand.
Export prices declined by US$1.15, or 1.4%, to US$82.95 a metric tonne in the week to March 12, according to IHS McCloskey. That’s before transport expenses and above the US$71.45 a tonne it costs for coal delivered to Europe. U.K. power companies’ stockpiles are 4.9% below record levels in September, according to government data.
“This is a clear sign of weakness in thermal coal demand in Europe,” writes Emmanuel Fages “’ an analyst in Paris at Orbeo, Societe Generale SA’s carbon-trading venture with Rhodia SA. “Asia has driven the coal market in the first quarter of 2010,” he says.
Richards Bay prices will rise 32% on average this year to US$84.60 a tonne, and the delivered price to Europe will gain 26% to US$87.50, according to Fages. Coal exports from the terminal fell 5% in February. Shipments dropped to 4.94 million tonnes from 5.2 million tonnes a year the previous year, the terminal said in a statement last week. At the February rate, the terminal would ship about 60.5 million tonnes this year.