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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis pushed up to $148.42 per tonne on December 18, up $0.09 per tonne from Tuesday.

Premium hard coking coal prices on an fob DBCT Australia basis were calculated at $136.49 per tonne, up $0.04 from Tuesday.

The price for hard coking coal cfr Jingtang stood at $136.68 per tonne on Wednesday, up $0.15 per tonne from Tuesday’s levels.

Hard coking coal fob DBCT was $124.31 per tonne, unchanged from Tuesday.

“Buying interest is still pretty weak at the moment, and port sales are not good,” a trading source in Beijing told Steel First.

Another trader in Rizhao city continued to have a bearish outlook on the market, saying there were no customers making enquiries.

China’s daily crude steel output fell further to 2.013 million tonnes in the first 10 days of December. The drop came amid Beijing’s strengthening resolve to control overcapacity and pollution within the steel industry.

Production is down 3.7% from the last 10 days of November, and at its lowest rate since mid-February this year, according to data released by the China Iron & Steel Assn on Tuesday December 17.

In Europe, mills were reported to have settled with the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) for January contract prices at $140-143 per tonne.

The most-traded May coking coal contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 1,076 yuan ($176) per tonne on Wednesday, unchanged from Tuesday’s close.

The most-traded May coke contract on the exchange closed at 1,562 yuan ($255) per tonne, up 4 yuan ($1) from the previous close.

Separately, Australia’s Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics said on Wednesday that it expected benchmark hard coking coal prices to average at about $150 per tonne fob Australia in 2014, in response to “a plenitude of seaborne supply”.