BEIJING/SINGAPORE, October 28, 2021: South African prices for Richard Bay Coal for December 2021 deliveries declined by USD90 per ton from its peak of USD249 per ton seen 05 October, 2021. Fresh decline in coal prices is 5.22% as prices declined by USD8.75 per ton today to USD158.95 per ton.
Coal Minister Pralhad Joshi on Thursday said state-owned CIL has stepped up fuel supply to meet the increased demand of the power sector and arrest shortages at thermal power plants caused due to rising cost of imported coal. The remarks by Joshi, who is on a three-day visit to Odisha, come at a time when the country's power plants are grappling with coal shortages.
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"Coal production and despatch have now increased and we are supplying about 2.2 million tonnes coal in a day to the power plants, which is itself a record," Joshi was quoted as saying in a statement by Coal India arm Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL).
Commodities from coal to aluminum posted huge swings, as traders said prices were reacting to speculation that China’s leadership is growing concerned over recent sharp declines in prices.
Aluminum, one of the most energy-intensive metals, plunged from a 13-year high to a two-month low yesterday as the country stepped up measures to ease a power crunch that has throttled metals supply. The metal bounced back as much as 3% amid the speculation. Copper, lead, nickel and zinc also erased early losses.
Bloomberg couldn’t verify the speculation, widely circulated on Chinese social media, that a Chinese leader is growing concerned that the correction in raw material prices will lead to unnecessary turbulence in the economy. The State Council didn’t respond to calls for comment.
In frenzied moves after China’s midday trading break, coal futures erased an almost 10% decline before tumbling again to the lower daily trading limit. The most-active thermal coal contract on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange closed 8.1% lower on Thursday. Futures had started the morning falling by their daily limit on news of a cap on prices, before almost erasing all their losses in the afternoon and then swiftly plunging again.
Base metals were also boosted by the dollar plunging after the U.S. posted its weakest growth of the pandemic recovery period on supply woes and a surge in Covid-19 cases. GDP expanded at a 2% annualized rate in the third quarter following a 6.7% pace in the second quarter, well below market expectations. The Bloomberg Dollar Index fell to its lowest in more than a month on the assumption that there is now less pressure on the Federal Reserve to act on rising inflation.
On the London Metal Exchange, aluminum reversed earlier losses and was trading at $2,750.50 a ton 4:43 p.m. local time. Copper and nickel each gained 1.3%.