Seaborne hard coking coal market edges lower as China drops prices

The Asian seaborne hard coking coal spot market continued to move down on Wednesday January 22 as lower offers and a weak Chinese domestic market weighed on sentiment.

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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis dropped by $2.05 to $140.40 per tonne on Wednesday.

Premium hard coking coal index prices fob Australia’s DBCT port dropped by $0.03 to $129.94 per tonne.

The price for hard coking coal stood at $130.00 per tonne cfr Jingtang, down by $0.11. Hard coking coal fob Australia edged up by $0.04 to $117.97 per tonne.

Shenhua Group has lowered the price of its coking coal products by 10-40 yuan ($2-7) per tonne as well as its coke price by 50 yuan ($8) per tonne. Several coking plants in Hebei province have also lowered their coke prices by 50 yuan ($8) per tonne.

Shanxi Coking Coal, on the other hand, is expected to cut the price of its coking coal products by around 50 yuan ($8) per tonne after the Chinese New Year, industry sources said.

A total of 4.89 million tonnes of coking coal was reported to be sitting at Jingtang port earlier this week, down from 4.99 million tonnes seen last Monday.

Stockpiles at Rizhao port stood at 2.15 million tonnes, also down slightly from the 2.16 million tonnes recorded a week ago.

However, sources said that trade may pick up if stockpiles at Jingtang fall to about 3.5 million tonnes.

The most-traded May coking coal contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 931 yuan ($153) per tonne, up from Tuesday’s close of 927 yuan ($152) per tonne.

The most-traded May coke contract on the exchange closed lower by 2 yuan ($0.33) per tonne at 1,340 yuan ($220) per tonne.

US and Australian producers continue to offer competitive prices for high- and low-volatility coals respective to European steel mills.

High-volatility US coals were heard offered into Europe by East Coast producers at $117-124 per tonne fob.

“There’s room for negotiation even at these prices,” a mill source said.

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