Richards Bay coal stocks rise in March as prices plummet
Coal stocks at South African Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) rose 7% month on month to 3m tonnes in March, despite the slight uptick in exported tonnes.
The terminal's latest data show RBCT received 6.3m tonnes of coal in March, up 21% from the 5.2m tonnes received in the previous month, as the number of trains arriving at the terminal rose to 810 trains in March, compared with February's 678.
The terminal shipped almost all the received commodity, with exports rising to 6.2m tonnes, up from 6.1m tonnes shipped the month before. According to market participants, most of the exports were heading into Asia, as the European market remained oversupplied.
March stocks were flat year on year, although both tonnes received and tonnes shipped rose compared with March 2011, when 5.6m tonnes was received and 5.4m tonnes was shipped.
While exports were 15% higher year on year in March 2012, South African coal prices are much lower, as the country's coal continues to compete with an abundance of US and Colombian coal being sold into Asia.
According to ICIS data, the FOB (free on board) RB May '12 financial contract fell to its lowest recorded level on Monday, at $101.60/tonne (€77.38/tonne) - $22.80/tonne below the FOB RB May '11 final closing price of $124.40/tonne on 28 April 2011. MV
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