South African thermal coal shipments to its top export destination, India, witnessed a 14% m-o-m rise to 2.3 mnt in Jan'22, CoalMint's vessel line-up data revealed.
The rise came as the country's coal index declined for Dec'21 and Jan'22 from its highs in Oct-Nov'21, giving Indian importers an opportunity to book coal.
South African coal stock at Indian ports had reduced drastically in the past few months amid limited arrival of cargoes.
In fact, following the sale of the entire ready stock available at Indian ports by mid-Jan'22, buyers were compelled to make advance booking for Feb'22-arriving vessels.
Constrained domestic coal availability for the non-power sector further supported the purchases of imported South African coal, as CIL and its subsidiaries continued to prioritise the power sector for coal supplies ahead of the summer season when electricity consumption in India surges.
Total coal exports decline
Barring India, South Africa's total coal exports declined by 18% m-o-m to 4.9 mnt in Jan'22. This was mainly due to an acute coal shortage at RBCT port.
Logistics issue at the country's biggest rail-operator, Transnet, continued to affect deliveries to RBCT port where coal stock has been at a critical 1.9 mnt throughout the month, as against an average 5 mnt earlier.
The elevated prices in the country post the Indonesian government's ban on coal exports in Jan'22 also made other buying countries take a backseat.
Shipments to Pakistan fell by a whopping 47% m-o-m to 0.6 mnt, CoalMint data showed.
Meanwhile, there were no shipments to China last month as higher domestic coal production dented any buying interest from the country.
Shipments to South Korea declined by 41% m-o-m to 0.17 mnt, while there were no major shipments to the Netherlands last month.
Limited coal stock at RBCT Port, and persistent higher coal prices in South Africa, despite the Indonesian government removing the coal export ban, are likely to keep the country's exports under pressure in the upcoming month.