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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was unchanged from levels seen on Friday at $146.86 per tonne cfr Jingtang.

The price for hard coking coal stood at $135.36 per tonne cfr Jingtang on Monday, up by $0.46 per tonne from Friday’s levels.

Premium hard coking coal sold on an fob DBCT basis saw prices hold steady at $133.70 per tonne, while hard coking coal prices fob DBCT dropped by $.037 per tonne from Friday to $122.01 per tonne.

While Japan has just returned from a week-long holiday, China has largely stocked up for the Chinese New Year at the end of the month, with little appetite left for the market.

“Most customers are not willing to book cargoes before the Chinese New Year. They’re not sure about the market afterwards so they don’t want to take risks,” a trading source in Shanghai told Steel First.

Sales activity at ports was not positive, either.

“Customers are not even interested in buying port stocks,” a trader in Rizhao city said.

A total of 4.88 million tonnes of coking coal was reportedly sitting at Jingtang port on Monday, down from the 5.11 million tonnes seen last week. Rizhao saw 2.29 million tonnes of stocks at its port, also down from 2.32 million tonnes recorded a week ago.

Market participants speaking to Steel First generally considered top Australian brands tradable at just above $145 per tonne cfr China and second-tier hard coking coal at about $135 per tonne cfr China.

The most-traded May coking coal contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 986 yuan ($161) per tonne on Monday, unchanged from last Friday’s close.

The most-traded May coke contract on the exchange closed at 1,416 yuan ($232) per tonne, down from the previous trading day’s close of 1,426 yuan ($234) per tonne.

Little activity was reported from European traders and consumers, with many market participants only just returning to the office after their Christmas holidays.