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Australia's Newcastle port coal exports fall to nine-week low

12 Nov 2013 16:20:39 | csd

The volume of coal shipped from the Australian port of Newcastle fell to a nine-week low of 2.43m tonnes in week 45 as the number of ships heading for the port dwindled.

Newcastle Port Corporation data released on 12 November showed 12.4% less coal was shipped week on week from the port’s three terminals in the seven-day period ending 07:00 Sydney time on 11 November.

There were no vessels waiting to load at the end of the week and only six ships were heading towards the port on Monday morning, compared to 17 ships the week before.

Meanwhile, stocks at the two Port Waratah Coal Services (PWCS)-owned terminals rose 35% week on week to 1.64m tonnes at the end of the week, data from Hunter Valley Coal Chain Coordinator (HVCCC) showed. However, by midnight on Monday the PWCS stocks had risen a further 8.1% to 1.78m tonnes. The third Newcastle Coal Infrastructure Group-owned terminal does not publish stock information.

HVCCC said Newcastle Port received 3.2m tonnes of coal by rail last week, flat compared to a week before, but shipments from the two PWCS terminals dropped 17.5% week on week to 1.73m tonnes of coal in the week ending on Sunday.

A large section of the railway serving Newcastle port will be closed for maintenance between 6:00 Sydney time on 19 November and 20:00 on 21 November, HVCCC maintenance plans show.

Nine spot physical deals totalling 225,000 tonnes were reported to ICIS last week, with February ’14 prices rising from $84.65/tonne on Wednesday to $85.10/tonne on Thursday, while January ’14 fell from $85.10/tonne on Thursday to $84.85/tonne on Friday. FOB Newcastle January ’14 fell a further $0.10/tonne session on session this week to trade at $84.75/tonne on Monday. Traders attributed the activity to one European utility, which has no natural position in the Australian market but gets involved when the arbitrage window suits.

Rising Chinese domestic coal prices could increase Chinese demand for imports. However, in week 45, a 150,000 tonne Australian 5,500kCal/kg NAR December-loading cargo was offered at $67.00/tonne on FOB basis but received no bid. The offer represented a rise from similar offers at $64.00/tonne and $66.00/tonne reported the week before, which also received no bids, according to ICIS data. Manca Vitorino

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