The Indonesian government is currently in the process of drafting a new regulation that could ban the export of low-grade coal by January 12, 2014. This is likely to apply to coal below 5100 kcal/kg (on adb basis) in value. As of now Indonesia is not producing much coal containing below 5100 GAD coal. But according to industry, by 2014, the total production of below 5100 GAD coal could reach up to 10 – 20 million per annum.
Indonesia coal export ban
“We do not see a significant impact from the loss of low grade Indonesian volumes”, said Miswin Mahesh, an analyst at Barclays Capital in London.
These volumes have been preferred by Indian consumers increasingly over this year given its price advantage over the high spec variety of coal; this would just mean that more of the high spec coal will be drawn in by end users, he futher added.
India will have to start importing higher grade coal at the prices that prevail in 2013 (and we expect these to come from South Africa and Australia). Major supply centres are shaping up well to provide future supplies; example SUEK in Russia is expanding its Muchka Bay terminal at Vanino, which is expected to become the largest coal port in Russia in order to boost Russia’s exports to the Pacific Basin.
SUEK is investing heavily in this terminal and its capacity will be increased to 12mt/yr. Further supply ramp ups from Russia expected from Vanino as Mechel is also completing the construction of the rail line connection the national railway network to the Elga deposit.
Production is expected to ramp up to about 25mt/yr over the next decade. We don't think the Russian governments export duty stance on SS coal will have a significant impact on its exports, and given that Colombian supplies are increasingly finding their way into Europe, Russian exporters will be increasingly incentivized on sending their cargoes to Asia. And given that they are well prepared for this we would not see any significant loss of supply.
Another important trend noticed is the directional share of Indonesia’s exports where India’s share of imports have increased over China’s (an expansion of close to 40-45% y/y looking at volumes in the first quarter)
Overall view for coal
Barclays Capital expects a lacklustre Q3 2011 for coal markets globally, with large stockpiles in Europe’s (Amsterdam Rotterdam and Antwerp ports), comfortable stockpiles in China and India out of the market due to the monsoons.
These stockpiles will create a buffer for prices at current levels against any unexpected supply or demand incidents.
We expect some momentum to be gained into Q4, as winter restocking needs in Europe return (UK utility stockpiles are low) and German demand will intensify in order to offset the loss of nuclear loss. This will create a good pull for coal in the Atlantic with most of the supplies likely to come from Colombia, Russia, the US and South Africa.
South African prices will have to come off from current levels if it is to price into Asia through this quarter, especially if it is to be attractive to Indian consumers. We would expect India to continue to prefer off spec coal Indonesian coal until South African prices soften, but if Indonesian off-spec becomes expensive then South African coal would climb above the preference scale. Favourable freight rates will also support this movement. We expect South African volumes into India to increase but as mentioned prices have to soften by $10. Low spec South African coal will not be exported into India in large quantities as state owned Eskom requires this supply. We did see some low spec South African cargoes that were meant for Eskom going into India but these volumes are one off in nature.
About Miswin Mahesh
Miswin Mahesh is a commodities analyst at Barclays Capital in London, specializing in the coal, freight and crude oil markets. Miswin is a graduate of the Duisenberg School of Finance in Amsterdam.
He graduated with a double masters, an MSc in Corporate Finance and Banking and a Masters degree in International Finance from the University of Amsterdam. Miswin builds his insight on international trade flows from his experience in the Middle East, India, Africa and Europe.
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