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Weak demand sees Australia's Newcastle coal exports decline

11 Mar 2013 17:36:15 | csd

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Coal exported from the Australian port of Newcastle declined by 6.1% week on week to 2.47m tonnes, data from the port authority out Monday shows, while prices for high-quality FOB Newcastle coal continued to come under pressure because of weak demand from Asia.

The two Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS)-operated terminals loaded 1.95m tonnes onto 24 ships in the seven-day period ending Sunday, the Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator (HVCCC) said in a report.

This is actually up on the 21 ships loaded the week before, but the rate of shiploading for the week was down.

"PWCS shiploading for the week is at a rate of 101.7m tonnes/year with a month-to-date rate of 100.0m tonnes/year. PWCS port stocks have increased to 1.33m tonnes," HVCCC said. The rate a week earlier was 108.8m tonnes/year.

The 1.33m tonnes in stock at the end of the period is an increase of 26% week on week.

The third Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group-owned terminal at the east Australia port does not publish figures, but ICIS estimates just over 0.5m tonnes were shipped from it over the week.

A 25,000 tonne April-loading physical cargo was sold at $89.50/tonne on Monday, down from $91.75/tonne last Thursday.

The FOB Newcastle physical front-end prices had shown some firmness at the start of the month because of concerns about weather affecting supply, but this appears to be easing. Demand from Asian countries is also weak, sources have said.

The supply chain to Newcastle port is set to be severely disrupted this week until 15 March, with major maintenance work set to take place on large swathes of the New South Wales rail system starting from Monday. The maintenance work will ease off from 16 March, according to a maintenance plan published by HVCCC. Fionn O'Raghallaigh

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