Over the past week, thermal coal indices rallied to almost 63 USD/t. A cold snap in Europe amid limited supply of material on the spot market as well as the news that the UK starts using Covid-19 vaccine by Pfizer and BioNTech in December 2020 supported the quotes.
Colombian Cerrejon and the Association of coal workers Sintracarbon have signed a new collective bargaining, ending a 3-month strike. According to Cerrejon, during the strike roughly 6.5 mio t of steam coal were not produced. That could result in reduction of Cerrejon’s exports to 12.0-13.0 mio t in 2020. In 2019 Cerrejon exported 26.8 mio t. According to market participants, no immediate effect on CIF ARA market should be expected as the supply of Colombian material will still remain limited in the short-term.
South African coal prices were supported by demand from Indian and Chinese consumers. Over the past week, at least 4 vessels were bought by Indian consumers, most of deliveries in December are destined for China.
Loading at Richards Bay in January 2021 will be restricted due to 10-day maintenance by Transnet on the rail line to the terminal. Originally the works were scheduled for July 2020, however, they were postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Demand for Indonesian material by Chinese consumers remains high. The increased demand for material with higher CV has also reflected in prices. According to market participants, some coal producers have already sold out their material until March 2021.
As the Indonesian Coal Mining Association reported, the Indonesian government has signed the deal with China and committed to deliver 200 mio t of steam coal in 2021. The contract is assumed to be worth around 1.5 billion USD. Compared to 2019, China imported 137.6 mio t of coal from Indonesia, whereas in January-September 2020 – 107.5 mio t. In 2019 and 9 months of 2020 China imports totaled 299.9 mio t and 239.6 mt respectively.
Coal prices continue to rise in Northern China, where the weather is colder than expected. Another factor is the limited supply due to ongoing safety checks at a number of enterprises following fatal accidents. At some local ports the customs have eased import restrictions and expedited the clearance process. However, Australian coal remains banned.
South Korea plans to relaunch the campaign on TPPs closures during winter to improve air quality. Within December 01, 2020 – February 28, 2021, from 9 to 16 of the most outdated TPPs will by shut, the generation by remaining power plants will be limited to 80% of their capacities.
Source: CAA Analytics
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