November 6, 2020 - Corsa Coal Corp. (TSXV: CSO) (OTCQX: CRSXF) ("Corsa" or the "Company"), a premium quality metallurgical coal producer, has reported financial results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020. Corsa has filed its unaudited condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020 and 2019 and related management's discussion and analysis under its profile on www.sedar.com.
Unless otherwise noted, all dollar amounts in this news release are expressed in United States dollars and all ton amounts are short tons (2,000 pounds per ton). Pricing and cost per ton information is expressed on a free-on-board, or FOB, mine site basis, unless otherwise noted.
Third Quarter 2020 Highlights
Peter Merritts, Chief Executive Officer of Corsa, commented, "The reduced production schedule implemented during the third quarter was a difficult decision because it resulted in the layoff of dedicated and hard-working employees, however, it was necessary to balance our production with our contractual commitments while allowing us to maintain our strategic inventory and to quickly and efficiently increase production in response to positive market opportunities.
Although our third quarter cash costs per produced ton sold were negatively impacted by the lower production levels, our focus on reducing controllable costs and the continued high level of performance from our operations served to minimize our cash production costs during this period of depressed spot market prices. The export market index-based sales that negatively impacted our third quarter results were transacted as we worked to balance our production and inventories and, due to our production discipline, we are better positioned to minimize these types of sales.
We are continuously monitoring the market for profitable opportunities and have the strategy, facilities and, most importantly, the personnel to increase our production to serve those orders. The Corsa team is ready to respond when the metallurgical coal market strengthens and the price environment recovers."
2020 Third Quarter Sales Metrics
Corsa's metallurgical coal sales figures are comprised of three types of sales: (i) selling coal that Corsa produces ("Company Produced"); (ii) selling coal that Corsa purchases and provides value added services (storing, washing, blending, loading) to make the coal saleable ("Valued Added Services"); and (iii) selling coal that Corsa purchases on a clean or finished basis from suppliers outside the Northern Appalachia region ("Sales and Trading"). For the three and nine months ended September 30, 2020, Corsa's sales were broken down into the following categories.
On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern" and on March 11, 2020, declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The current COVID-19 pandemic is significantly impacting the global economy and commodity and financial markets. The full extent and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic remains unknown and continues to rapidly evolve. Given the extreme volatility in financial markets and commodity prices, along with uncertainty regarding the impact thereof on the future performance of the Company, the Company does not believe it is appropriate to issue guidance for the remainder of fiscal 2020. If the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak, including the decrease in economic activity or restrictions on certain business activities, continue for an extended period of time or worsen, it could have a negative impact on the demand for metallurgical coal and/or business activities, which would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition, cash flows and results of operations. The Company will continue to evaluate events and circumstances and will provide guidance when appropriate and as information is available.
Coal Pricing Trends and Outlook
Price levels opened the second quarter at $116/metric ton ("mt") delivered-to-the-port based ("FOBT") for spot deliveries of Australian premium low volatile metallurgical coal and closed the quarter at $139/mt FOBT. The quarterly average price for the second quarter of 2020 was $115/mt FOBT for Australian premium low volatile metallurgical coal, compared to $118/mt FOBT in the second quarter of 2020, and traded in a range from a high of $139/mt FOBT to a low of $106/mt FOBT. October 2020 spot market pricing for Australian premium low volatile metallurgical coal opened the month at $139/mt FOBT, closed the month at $109/mt FOBT and traded in a range from a high of $139/mt FOBT to a low of $106/mt FOBT for an average price of $115/mt FOBT.
The World Steel Association reported that, through September 2020, global crude steel production fell by 3.2% in the first nine months of 2020 versus the comparable period in 2019. However, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on those submitting production data, the report cautioned that some estimates were used and that the number could be revised in the next update. For the first nine months of 2020, production was up 4.5% in China and was down 19.2% in the U.S., 19.1% in Japan and 16.5% in India. Crude steel production from the European Union and Brazil was down 17.9% and 9.7%, respectively. Regionally, Asia, which includes China and India, increased by 0.2%, North America decreased by 18.2% and South America decreased by 13.9%.
Following a first half 2020 decrease of 6.0% when compared to the first half of 2019, global crude steel production was down in July by 2.5 %, up in August by 0.6% and up in September by 2.9 % when compared to the same months in 2019. When comparing the month of September 2020 to September 2019, crude steel production was up in Asia by 7.4% and 0.9% in South America and was down 17.4% in North America and 14.0% in the European Union. Individual country comparisons of September 2020 to September 2019 show Turkey up 18.0%, China up 10.9%, and Brazil up 7.5%, and the U.S. down 18.5%, Japan down 19.3%, and India down 2.9%. Chinese hot-rolled coil steel prices are up approximately 7.1% since the start of the year, with U.S. and Northern European prices up 21.7% and 16.7%, respectively, in the same time period. Preliminary U.S. coking coal export data through July of 40.1 million tons shows an approximate 30% year-to-date decline with annualized U.S. coking coal exports of approximately 42 million tons as compared to 53 million tons in 2019.
The World Steel Association Short Range Outlook released in October forecasted that steel demand will contract by 2.4% in 2020 versus 2019 and will increase by 4.1% in 2021 versus 2020. Global steel demand in 2021 is expected to exceed 2019 levels, driven primarily by Chinese increases compared to 2019. Chinese steel demand is expected to increase by 8.0% in 2020 as compared to 2019 and remain flat in 2021. Excluding China, steel demand from the rest of the world will decrease by 13.3% in 2020 and increase by 9.4% in 2021. Regionally, the collective demand from the United States, Canada and Mexico is forecasted to decrease by 15.3% in 2020 and increase by 6.7% in 2021; demand from the European Union is forecasted to decrease by 15.2% in 2020 and increase by 11.0% in 2021; the collective demand from Asia and Oceania (excluding China) is forecasted to decrease by 13.3% in 2020 and increase by 10.7% in 2021; and the collective demand from Central and South America is forecasted to decrease by 10.1% in 2020 and increase by 8.2% in 2021.
The forward curve for the fourth quarter of 2020 according to the TSI index is trading in the mid-$120s/mt FOBT range with December in the high $120s/mt FOBT and the 2021 forward curve is in the mid $140s/mt FOBT. Import quota restrictions enforced by Chinese authorities and trade tensions between China and Australia continue to impact the supply and demand balance of the seaborne metallurgical coal market in the second half of 2020 and increased the price volatility in spot transactions and futures markets. Domestic metallurgical coal market contract negotiations for 2021 are underway and will be finalized as we approach the end of the year. Increased steel production coupled with supply-side inventory reductions and geographical and grade specific metallurgical coal production constraints support an environment of increasing spot market coal prices in 2021. Price volatility is expected as future demand for metallurgical coal and the availability of supply will be impacted by, among other things, country specific and regional efforts to contain and control the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the economic stimulus activities of each country and global organizations and the operating status and capabilities of our customers and competitors. Due to the uncertainty of the global business impact of COVID-19 on both metallurgical coal supply and demand, on March 30, 2020, Corsa suspended the provision of additional commentary regarding expectations for 2020 metallurgical coal prices. Metallurgical coal supply, demand and pricing outlook commentary will be resumed when deemed appropriate by the Company.
To read the full results with financial figures included, click here.