Coal exports out of Hampton Roads, Virginia, fell from a year earlier in November, marking a 10th month of year-on-year declines.
Port loadings dropped to 2.76mn short tons (2.5mn metric tonnes) from 3.11mn st in November 2018, according to estimates from the Virginia Maritime Association.
Volumes rose from a nearly three-year low of 2.35mn st set in October. Prices stabilized in early October as demand inched up, possibly supporting the month-on-month increase in coal loadings in November. But markets have weakened since then.
Argus‘ assessment for low-volatile coking coal was $125/t fob Hampton Roads on 2 January. In the first half of October, it averaged $136.36/t.
Thermal coal export prices also were higher in October, but below levels at which Central Appalachian producers typically are able to make a profit in the export market. And prices have fallen since then. The midpoint for prompt two-month shipments of 6,000 kcal/kg coal out of Hampton Roads stood at $57.96/t last week, which was about $3/t lower than in the first half of October and two thirds of what the midpoint was a year earlier.
Loadings at two out of three coal terminals fell during the month when compared with a year earlier. Shipments out of Dominion Terminal Associates, which is co-owned by Contura Energy and Arch Coal, dropped to 1.07mn st from 1.27mn st, and volumes at Kinder Morgan’s Pier IX terminal fell 503,209st from 661,206st.
Shipments out of Norfolk Southern’s Lamberts Point inched 0.4pc higher, to 1.18mn st, according to association estimates. That was the highest level of loadings for the terminal in three months.
Volumes at all three Hampton Roads terminals were lower on a year-to-date basis. Weakness was fairly evenly spread, with shipments 18pc-24pc below 2018 levels.
Total January-November loadings fell to just under 31mn st from 39.5mn st in the same period of 2018.
By Courtney Schlisserman
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- On January 6, 2020