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International Coal Prices are Set to Rise in the Coming Weeks Due to Short Supply from Australia and South Africe

The prices of international coal are set to increase in the upcoming weeks, because of short supply from countries like Australia and South Africa. With a spate of setbacks in rising shipping congestion, a pay strike at South Africa’s port and rail operator has limited roughly 75 percent of the bulk materials that are routinely exported from its mines to international clients each day.

A compromise pay agreement designed to end the conflict was rejected by the members of the Transport and Allied Workers Union in South Africa.  In seven South African ports, Transnet SOC owns and manages 16 terminal businesses, including those in the automobile, bulk, break bulk, and container sectors.

The Minerals Council South Africa, a lobbying organisation for the mining industry, stopped the flow of mineral exports at the major harbours. It was slowed to between 12% and 30% of their daily averages due to the ongoing strike. Iron ore, coal, chrome, ferrochrome, and manganese shippers were unable to load 357,000 tonnes of these materials each day.

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Transnet's main coal line, which transports fuel from mines to Richards Bay Coal Terminal, the largest facility on the continent, is needed to be fixed because of underlying rail problems, even if a compensation agreement is achieved. RBCT is owned by its shippers and is capable to load ships with existing inventories.

Due to heavy rainfall and strong river flows from upstream, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has issued a flood warning for the Lower Hunter and Wollombi rivers for October 21, 2022, through the weekend. Flooding at Maitland in the Lower Hunter in July 2022 caused delays and further impacted deliveries into Newcastle for two weeks. Due to reduced buoyancy caused by heavy freshwater flows into Newcastle Harbour, only Panamax vessels rather than Capesize ships were able to load.

Coal shipments have been hampered by the third La Nina year. Whereas, Queensland shipments are also falling behind, with a 13 percent decline from 2019 to the same period in 2021 and a 5 percent decline from January 2022 to September 2022.

The price of high-grade 6,000 kcal/kg NAR thermal coal was recently estimated by Argus at USD 397.90 per tonne fob Newcastle on October 14, 2022, whereas on the previous month it peaked at USD 444.59 per tonne on September 12, 2022.

On October 14, 2022, it estimated 5,500 kcal/kg NAR coal of lower grade at USD 152.49 per tonne fob Newcastle, down from USD 199.12 per tonne on September 12, 2022.

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According to Procurement Resource, due to a shortage coming from nations like Australia and South Africa, international coal prices are expected to rise in the coming weeks. A wage strike at South Africa's port and rail operator has restricted about 75% of the bulk minerals that are regularly exported from its mines to foreign clients each day due to a string of setbacks in escalating maritime congestion. To end the conflict, a pay agreement was designed which was rejected by the members of the Transport and Allied Workers Union in South Africa.

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