Almost all coal exporters are now looking to cut production quite significantly. Prevailing weak export markets, combined with fixed price take-or-pay rail and port contracts, are combining to ensure losses for almost every tonne mined now.
Higher quality producers can retain a competitive edge as buyers pick and choose their preferences right now. Australian exports are at their lowest levels in over 3 years, whilst SA exporters are also only loading minimally contracted tonnages.
A strengthening ZAR is not making matters easier for SA producers, with export netback pricing now in the R400’s for typical RB1 material.
In China, strong seasonal demand and import restrictions are favouring domestic producers again, whilst in India, thermal coal imports at major ports declined around 35% in April-June.
Locally, Eskom has seen Stage 2 load-shedding resume as winter peak demand outstrips system availability. SA is again suffering increasing levels of Covid-19 transmission and government is seeking ways to halt the spread, without devastating the economy again.
The respected former CEO of Eskom, Ian McRae, died on Sunday morning. He was 90 years old and a champion of Eskom’s “electricity for all” vision. Anglo American Coal’s July Ndlovu has meanwhile been appointed head of the World Coal Association. Congratulations.