Coal Shipments From Richards Bay Terminal Rise 7.7% in April

Shipments from Richards Bay Coal Terminal, Africa’s largest export facility for the fuel, rose 7.7 percent to 5.17 million metric tons in April from a year earlier.

RBCT, whose owners include BHP Billiton Ltd. (BHP) and Anglo American Plc (AAL), received 5.97 million tons of coal in the month, and had stocks of 3.6 million tons, according to a statement published on its website today. It has capacity to export 91 million tons a year.

Transnet SOC Ltd. plans to shut the Richards Bay coal railway line for maintenance May 15 to May 24 to improve operational efficiency, it said Apr. 16.

Deliveries from the port on South Africa’s north-east coast fell 17 percent compared with March as increased shipments from the U.S. depressed demand from Europe and Asia.

“There is an oversupply of coal in Europe, China and India,” Xavier Prevost, analyst at XMP Consulting, said by mobile phone. “The U.S. market is very depressed, and shale gas is taking an increasing market share from coal. As a result, U.S. coal is going to India, China and Europe.”

Prices for coal traded through RBCT declined slightly to an average $101.83 a ton in April from $103.53 a month earlier, according to Hampshire-based IHS McCloskey data on Bloomberg. It has dropped 17 percent from $123.32 a ton in April last year.

“I think South African producers have been waiting, hoping the price will recover,” Prevost said. The latest available data show Richards Bay prices of $99.48 a ton for the last week of April, according to IHS McCloskey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jana Marais in Johannesburg at jmarais@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Viljoen at jviljoen@bloomberg.net

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