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Gladstone Australia coal exports to China ease in Aug to 749,000 mt


Shipments of coal to China from the Port of Gladstone in Queensland, Australia, sank below 1 million mt in August for the first time since April, at 749,000 mt, Gladstone Ports Corporation data showed.

Exports to China from Gladstone averaged 1.14 million mt/month from May to July following restrictions from Beijing on domestic production, which sent Chinese buyers shopping on the seaborne market.

The shipments to China slid 29% month on month in August, but remained almost double the monthly average of 379,000 mt/month for the first quarter of the year, the data showed.

A similar trend was seen in export figures from Australia’s Port Waratah Coal Services terminals at the port of Newcastle, which fell from an 18-month high of 1.80 million mt in July to 549,000 mt in August.

A trader told S&P Global Platts last week that China’s demand for coal has slightly weakened recently due to a drop in temperatures. Power plants were consuming stocks in 20-21 days now, compared with 15 days previously, he said.

Gladstone Ports Corporation handles 42 coal types with the majority being metallurgical coal and approximately 30% being thermal coal, it says.

China had received 18% of all Gladstone coal exports in July but that fell to 12% in August, while exports to Japan, India, South Korea and Taiwan all rose month on month in August, the data showed.

Japan — which takes the lion’s share of Gladstone coal exports — saw its largest monthly volume from Gladstone for the year to date in August, rising 9% month on month to 2.30 million mt, according to the figures. It’s the most the country has been sent since 2.45 million mt in December last year and is 300,000 mt more than the 12-month rolling average of 2.00 million mt/month, Gladstone data shows.

India also received its largest monthly volume for the year to date with exports rising 56% month on month to 1.50 million mt in August, which is the most that has been sent since 1.68 million mt in September, 2015, and it breached the 12-month average of 1.28 million mt/month.

Exports to South Korea were up 22% month on month at 965,000 mt in August, but were still lagging the 12-month rolling average of 1.14 million mt.

Taiwan, which took just 3% of Gladstone’s coal exports, saw shipped volumes surge 164% to 198,000 mt, but remained lower than the 12-month average of 265,000 mt, the data said.

The boost in exports to the four countries helped offset the decline in shipments to China, to take total coal exports from Gladstone up by 8% month on month to 6.14 million mt, which is the most since May’s 6.29 million mt. The 12-month rolling average for total coal exports from Gladstone is lower at 5.93 million mt.

The volumes were sent via 59 cargoes in the month and on Monday Gladstone’s RG Tanna coal terminal had two vessels at berth and five at anchor, down from three at berth and six at anchor last week, Gladstone Ports Corporation said.

Fifteen mines, operated by companies including BHP Billiton-Mitsubishi Alliance, Ensham Resources, Jellinbah Resources, Wesfarmers and Yancoal Australia, supply coal exports to Gladstone port and its three coal terminals in Queensland — Barney Point, RG Tanna and Wiggins Island.

GPC was not reporting any vessels at berth or at anchor for Barney Point or Wiggins Island.

Source: Platts 

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