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India, China, Taiwan top SA coal importers

May 21 2012 15:11 Reuters

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BHP BILLITON PLC [JSE:BIL]

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London - Asia absorbed most of South Africa's 5.2 million tonnes of coal exports in April, led by India, China and Taiwan, exporters said.

Almost all of South Africa's thermal coal is exported from the private Richards Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) in Kwazulu Natal, which is owned by mining majors Anglo Coal, BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL], Xstrata, Glencore, Exxaro, Total and Optimum Coal Holdings.

A much smaller tonnage is shipped from Richards Bay Dry Bulk Terminal, Durban and Maputo in Mozambique by traders including Vitol and Noble.

India took 1.6 million tonnes of coal in the month, down from 1.9 million in March. China's imports dipped to 810,000 tonnes from 1.3 million.

Taiwanese imports held steady at 840,000 tonnes, compared with 800,000 tonnes in March.

The coal market globally has become oversupplied because almost all major exporters are now producing and shipping more, while demand has been limp in Europe and weaker than expected in Asia.

The Atlantic market, which is still suffering from oversupply and weak demand, took 1.2 million tonnes, slightly down from 1.4 million in March.

Nothing was imported into Europe's Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp coal-importing hub in April. A month earlier, 200,000 tonnes were imported, or slightly more than one capesize cargo.

 
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