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Africa, Middle East Seen Emerging as Biggest Importers of South African Coal



By Ilan Solomons

March 4, 2017 - Fifty percent of South Africa’s 73 million tons of export coal in 2016 was delivered to South Asian countries, with Africa receiving only 4 million tons of South African-produced coal. However, it is predicted that, by 2030, Africa and the Middle East will account for 80% of South Africa’s export coal market.

This is according to physical commodities trader Noble Group coal energy head analyst Rodrigo Echeverri.


Breaking down South Africa’s coal export markets for 2016, he says that South Asia received 37 million tons, European and Mediterranean countries 16 million tons and Asia-Pacific nations 12 million tons, while Africa and the Middle East received 4 million tons each.

Echeverri says his research has determined that, by 2025, demand for South African coal into the rest of Africa will increase significantly to 31 million tons, reaching 38 million tons by 2030. “Hence, African coal import demand from South Africa will grow by 34 million tons by the end of the next decade.”


He says that, by 2030, South Africa will be exporting 80 million tons, but that demand from South Asia will drop to 8 million tons, Asia-Pacific to 2 million tons and European and Mediterranean countries will only require six-million tons of South African-produced coal.


Moreover, along with this growing African demand for South African coal, the Middle East will bolster its reliance on South African coal greatly, consuming 22 million tons more and taking total supply from South Africa to 26 million tons by 2030.