LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - China’s imports of South African coal surged in October to 2.5 million tonnes, up from 911,000 tonnes in September, a record monthly tonnage, exporters said.
China’s buying largely absorbed the unexpectedly high quantity of coal moved to South Africa’s Richards Bay Coal Terminal last month and compensated for the lack of Indian spot buying.
South Africa’s total exports were the highest monthly level seen for years at 7.4 million tonnes. On average, exports have floated between 4 million and 5 million tonnes a month for the past three years.
Exporters have been forced to make more spot sales, particularly to China, because they have had much more coal to sell than they had anticipated, having become accustomed to lower tonnages being railed to the port.
India’s imports of South African coal were stable in October at 1.26 million tonnes, little changed from 1.23 million in the previous month. The vast majority of coal shipped to India from South Africa this year has been under term contract, much of this priced against floating indexes. (Reporting by Jacqueline Cowhig; Editing by Alison Birrane)