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Australia’s Newcastle coal exports slide 30%

10 Sep 2013 14:26:29 | csd

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Coal shipped from the Australian port of Newcastle slipped 30% to 2.4m tonnes in the week ending Monday morning, highlighting the weakening demand for seaborne coal in the Pacific Basin.

Newcastle Port Corporation data released on Tuesday showed about 1m tonnes less coal was shipped from the port’s three terminals in the seven-day period ending 07:00 hours Sydney time on 9 September.

The Australian FOB Newcastle markets have been hit hard by the deterioration of China’s domestic coal prices, which has removed the arbitrage opportunity between the two.

Traders shipping on a FOB Newcastle basis have been heavy sellers in recent weeks, a situation that is exaggerated by the lack of demand on the spot market from Asian buyers.

Last week October-loading cargoes slid by about $2/tonne from a week earlier to trade at $75/tonne. The price of November tonnage moved up slightly on Monday when two cargoes sold at $77.75/tonne, but November was offered at that level soon after.

South African coal prices remain under pressure too and emphasise the weak demand in the Pacific Basin. Data released on Monday from the port operator of the Richards Bay Coal Terminal said coal in stock at the end of August was at almost a two-year high ( see CSD 9 September 2013 ).

During the week, 29 vessels entered Newcastle to load coal, 11 fewer than a week earlier, the port operator said. The demand outlook is lowering too, with 41 ships granted a notified arrival time, down from 49 a week earlier.

The two Port Waratah Coal Services-owned terminals shipped 2.16m tonnes by midnight on Sunday, Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator data shows. This is down just slightly from the 2.17m tonnes shipped a week earlier.

The Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group, the operator of the third terminal, does not release export data. But the Newcastle and Hunter Valley reports indicate the majority of the 2.4m tonnes shipped from the port over the week went from the Port Waratah terminals. No problems were reported with the Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group terminal.

Coal in stock at the Port Waratah terminals jumped 16% to 1.09m tonnes at midnight on Sunday. Fionn O’Raghallaigh

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