Three-million fewer tonnes of coal were exported from the Richard’s Bay Coal Terminal (RBCT) in 2018 as global demand for South African product weakened in response to high prices. In a briefing on the annual performance for 2018 on Thursday, RBCT reported coal exports of 73.47-million tonnes for 2018 —4% less than the 76.47-million tonnes exported in 2017 and falling short of a previously-stated target of 77-million tonnes. On average the terminal received 26 trains a day in 2018 compared with 27 a day in 2017. The reduction in exports is not because of any operational issues at the terminal but, rather, is a reflection of weaker global demand, said CEO Alan Waller. “Whatever has been railed has been shipped. [The reason for lower exports] is global demand; it's market dynamics,” he said. Xavier Prévost, senior coal analyst at XMP Consulting, said the weaker demand was because South African coal index prices had been marginally higher than those of other coal producing countries su...

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