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Premium BMA low-volatility hard coking coal brands Peak Downs and Saraji settled at the top of the range, with lower-grade premium hard coking coal brand Goonyella settling at $135-136, according to sources.

The settlement levels are around $2 per tonne lower than levels originally offered by BMA for February contracts, and down by $4 per tonne from levels of $143-140 per tonne settled for January contracts.

“It’s lower but in line with the direction we’re seeing the spot market move in,” a Europe-based trader told Steel First.

Anglo American settled the first-quarter 2014 benchmark with Japanese steel mills in early December at $143 per tonne fob Australia for premium hard coking coal German Creek material.

A spokeswoman for BHP Billiton said that the miner would not comment on price negotiations.

While iron ore prices have remained relatively stable over the past quarter, coking coal prices have fallen consistently, dropping from levels of $145 per tonne at the end of October to just above $130 per tonne in mid-January.

Steel First’s index for premium hard coking coal fob Australian port DBCT was calculated at $130.35 per tonne cfr Jingtang on Wednesday, down by $1.14 per tonne from levels seen on Tuesday.