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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis edged down to $144.84 per tonne during the day, down $0.14 per tonne from Thursday.

Premium hard coking coal index prices fob Australia’s DBCT port were calculated at $132.21, down $0.28 from Thursday.

The price for hard coking coal stood at $131.71 per tonne cfr Jingtang on Friday, unchanged from Thursday’s levels.

Hard coking coal prices fob Australia were also unchanged, seen at $118.84 per tonne.

“It’s not about prices these days. It’s good enough to have even some buying interest,” a trading source in Rizhao told Steel First.

High stock levels, tight credit conditions and lower domestic coke prices have all been cited as factors limiting appetite for forward cargoes.

Market participants speaking to Steel First considered top Australia brands tradable at about $145 per tonne cfr China and second-tier hard coking coal at below $135 per tonne cfr China, down $1-2 per tonne from earlier this week.

Port sales remained difficult. Deals heard this week were about 30-50 yuan ($5-8) per tonne lower than trades achieved two weeks ago, sources said.

The most-traded May coking coal contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 984 yuan ($161) per tonne on Friday, up 6 yuan ($1) from Thursday’s close, but down 2 yuan ($0.30) from last Friday.

The most-traded May coke contract on the exchange closed at 1,382 yuan ($226) per tonne, up 10 yuan ($2) per tonne from a day earlier, but down 44 yuan ($7) per tonne, or 3.1% from a week ago.

Icy conditions gripping much of the northern USA have seen affected shipments on Norfolk Southern’s rail line. The rail operator warned customers earlier this week that freight on the line could be affected. A trader source in Europe said that coking coal prices were yet to reflect any shipment delays.