South Africa: thermal coal costs and margins continue to decline
South Africa's thermal coal has remained competitive within the global seaborne export market due to falling costs in US dollar terms, largely driven by devaluation of the local currency. The rand has fallen 64% over the past five years. In 2015 alone the average total cash cost for export thermal coal fell 10% on average to US$46/tonne, compared with 2014. Margin compression has continued despite lower costs, due to falling seaborne export thermal prices.