BY AAMEER SAYED
The recent release of coal export data by South Africa customs department shows that the country exported 6.68 mnt coal in May’16. There is 2.17% decrease in export as compared to May’15. Cumulatively, export in Jan-May’16 is 5.74% less than the quantity exported in Jan-May’15 and 2.86% less compared to Jan- May’14 period.
India is the largest importer of South African coal and imported around 4.53 mnt in May’16, which is 68% of total coal exported from South Africa in that month. Beginning Jan’15, imports from South Africa peaked in the month of May’16. M-o-M, there is a growth of 1.34% against 4.47 mnt of coal imported in April’16 from South Africa.
Major reason behind the drastic change in imports during Feb’16–May’16 is continuously falling Pet coke demand and weak Indian sponge market (prices were down by 8-9%) during Jan’16. South African coal prices took a hit during end of Feb this year, leading to increased imports since March. However, Colombia stood as a new import source, primarily due to offers being lower than that of South Africa, along with not having to compromise on the quality of the material.
Among the other buyers, Pakistan was the second largest importer of South African coal with total imports of 0.46 mnt in May’16. A total of 1.93 mnt of coal was imported during the period of Jan-May’16 which was 48.46% more than the quantity imported in Jan-May’15 from South Africa. Coal import in Pakistan has increased with growth in its power sector and cement industry. Only bituminous coal is imported by Pakistan from South Africa.
Morocco, which is the third largest importer of South African coal bought 0.16 mnt of coal in May’16, which is approximately 41% less than the quantity imported in April’16 and 48.38% less than the quantity imported in May’15. Morocco has witnessed a decrease of 93% in South African coal during Jan- May’16 against Jan-May’15.
Other major buyers of South African coal were Turkey, Italy, Netherlands and Israel. Netherlands and Israel have reduced imports from South Africa. On the back of strong environmental safety policies being implemented in these countries, it can be assumed that these countries are shifting to other means of energy production.
Italy imported 1.06 mnt of coal during Jan-May’16; whereas, Turkey, Netherlands and Israel imported 0.88 mnt, 0.31 mnt and 0.34 mnt respectively. Out of the total imports during this period, Israel and Netherlands did not import any coal in May’16.
Note: Only Anthracite, Bituminous coal, Briquettes, coke and pet coke has been considered for the analysis.
Source: Steel 360 Magazine Aug’16 Issue