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Saturday, March 17, 2012

SA bulk export volumes dropped by 21.2pct MoM in February

Saturday, 17 Mar 2012

Transnet National Ports Authority data showed on March 13th 2012 that SA's bulk export volumes dropped by 21.2% MoM in February 2012 from January 2012 as mostly iron ore exports out of Saldanha slumped by 48.6% MoM to 2,571,174 tonnes.

Although 2012 is a leap year, there were still only 29 days in February 2012 compared with 31 days in January 2012, so ports had 6.5% less time to load goods. That is why the YoY comparison makes more sense, but weather can also disrupt port operations such as the recent Cyclone Irina.

The YoY change in February 2012 was a 9.4% drop to 10.651 million tonnes after January's 28.1% YoY surge to 13.513 tonnes. The high YoY growth rate is in part due to poor weather in January 2011 that disrupted port operations.

Bulk exports rose by 6.6% in 2011 to a record 141.493 tonnes after a 9.0% jump in 2010. The YoY increase in the first two months of 2012 was 8.3%.

The slower growth last year was in part due to weather related disruptions as well as cable theft on the Mpumalanga Richards Bay coal line, which has resulted in derailments and other disruptions to traffic.

The coal line was closed for 20 days in May and June 2011 to do necessary maintenance and in October exports out of Richards Bay exceeded 8 million tonnes or an annualized 96 million tonnes, but this eased to 7.3 million tonnes in November 2011 before rising to 7.5 million tonnes in December 2011 and 7.7 million tonnes or an annualized 92 million tonnes in January 2012. In February 2012 Richards Bay shipped 7 million tonnes and shipments for the first two months are up 22.8% YoY.

In 2011, shipments out of Richards Bay, which are mostly coal, disappointed with a 1.4% rise to 76 million tonnes in 2011, while mostly iron ore shipments out of Saldanha Bay increased by 12.3% to 53.3 Mt. In January 2012 the y/y increases were 34.4% and 25.0% respectively, indicating that demand for these commodities remains very strong despite the global growth concerns.

The star performer last year was agricultural and manganese exports out of the other South African ports, such as Durban and Port Elizabeth, which jumped by 18.7% to 12.2 million tonnes, but in January 2012 there was a small 1.8% YoY decline to 0.8 million tonnes, while February 2012 saw a larger 8.5% YoY decline.

The majority of bulk exports go to Asia as China, India and Japan require South African coal and iron ore to feed their steel mills and thermal coal power stations.

As nuclear power stations in Japan have reduced their output after the March 2011 earthquake, Japan requires more coal to burn in their thermal power stations.

Source - Net Bridge

1 comment:

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