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Nov coal exports from Australia's Gladstone sink to seven-month low of 5.4 mil mt

Sydney — Volume of shipped coal from Gladstone in Queensland, Australia, slumpedto a seven-month low of 5.40 million mt in November, with weak exports to itsthree biggest destinations: Japan, India and China, data from the GladstonePorts Corporation showed Wednesday.

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The November volume is down 13% from 6.23 million mt a year ago, and 7%lower than 5.79 million mt shipped in October, the data shows.

Last month's export figure is the smallest volume sent in a single monthsince April when throughput was still limping from the impact of CycloneDebbie that made a landfall late in March.

Demand for metallurgical coal is also expected to wane as China is set toclose many of it steel production units between November and March, NationalAustralia Bank said last month.

Exports from Gladstone to China in November stood at 891,000 mt, a dropof 23% from 1.16 million mt a year ago, and a 27% fall from 1.21 million mt inOctober, the GPC data shows. It's the weakest monthly total sent to China insix months.

Similarly, the shipment volume to Japan was the weakest in seven months,totalling 1.62 million mt -- which is down 24% from 2.13 million mt in theprevious year, and 23% below 2.11 million mt in October, the data showed.

Exports to India totaled 1.08 million mt in November, down 36% from 1.69million mt in November 2016 but up 4% from 1.04 million mt in October.

South Korea-bound volume bucked the trend in November, with exportssurging to a 20-month high of 1.15 million mt. The volume marks an increase of80% from 638,000 mt a year earlier and it's 45% higher than 795,000 mt shippedin October, the data showed.

Export volumes to Taiwan were also 41% on the year at 256,000 mt, and up83% from 140,000 mt in October. Approximately 70% of coal handled at the port is metallurgical coal andthe rest is thermal, GPC says.

--Nathan Richardson,

--Edited by Pankti Mehta,