Richards Bay, South Africa — MININGREVIEW.COM — 08 June 2010 – Prices for coal shipped from the Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) “’ the continent’s biggest export facility for the fuel “’ were little changed near an 18-month high because of strong European demand in May.
RBCT export prices fell 0.4% to an average US$92.41 a metric tonne in the four days through June 4, according to IHS McCloskey. They had reached US$95.75 at the end of April “’ the highest since November 7, 2008.
“Fundamentals for Western European coal-burn remained strong, with May coal-burn coming in at about 4% higher, year-on-year, supported by unusually colder weather,” said Barclays Capital analyst Amrita Sen. “In addition to China, demand from other Asian countries remains robust. Even Japan is showing signs of recovery, and India remains the other key bright spot in the Pacific market.”
Bloomberg News reports that South Africa is boosting exports to the East as India and China recover from last year’s slowdown. It says more than half its production is now going to Asia, according to McCloskey. The Richards Bay terminal is owned by South Africa’s largest coal exporters, including BHP Billiton Limited, Anglo American Plc and Xstrata Plc.
Barclays cut its estimate for Richards Bay’s coal exports this year by six million tonnes to 64 million tonnes, following last month’s strike at state-owned transport utility Transnet Limited.
Richards Bay exported 4.57 million tonnes of coal in May and received 1.95 million tonnes by rail. Stocks at the terminal fell to 2.04 million tonnes “’ their lowest level since December 2007, the terminal said on its website.