THERMAL COAL-Prices remain weak as Australian exports surge
* U.S. coal miners cut back exports as Australia floods market
* Indian coal-buying supports South African market
LONDON Oct 7 (Reuters) - Thermal coal prices remained near five-year lows on Tuesday as Australian exports levels rose despite global oversupply, although a surge in Indian demand did lend support to some contracts.
Australian cargoes for delivery from its Newcastle terminal in November were trading at $64.50 a tonne on Tuesday afternoon, down $0.35 since their last close and close to five-year lows.
The price drop came as Australia, one of the world's biggest coal exporters, reported its highest coal shipment figures since the peak of Asia's last winter season in December 2013, adding to a global glut.
"Australian thermal coal exports totalled 18.3 million tonnes in August, up 15 percent YoY (year-on-year) and the largest export volume since December. On a YTD (year-to-date) basis exports are up 7 percent, or just under 9 million tonnes," Australian bank Macquarie said on Tuesday.
The bank also said that U.S. overseas coal exports year-to-date were down 31 percent, or 9 million tonnes, compared with last year, partly as a result of global oversupply.
"The U.S. has been one of the few exporters to make economics-driven supply cuts this year," Macquarie said.
Some of the rising Australian output could end up in India, where coal imports surged 19 percent to 16 million tonnes in September from a year ago as fuel-hungry power companies bought at lower international prices to bring in much-needed supplies.
As a result of increased Indian buyers, South African coal cargoes from its Richards Bay terminal, which mostly go to India, became around 75 cents more expensive at a value of $66.20 a tonne for delivery in November. (Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Pravin Char)
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