China credit concerns continue to depress coking coal market

The Asian seaborne hard coking coal spot market was quiet on Thursday February 27 as credit concerns continued to depress the market.

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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated on February 27 at $135.21 per tonne, down by $0.29 from levels seen on Wednesday.

The premium hard coking coal index fob Australia’s DBCT port was unchanged at $124.05 per tonne.

The cfr hard coking coal index stood at $123.40 per tonne, down by $0.14 from the previous day. The fob value was unchanged, standing at $113.29 per tonne.

“Prices are not really the issue here. You have to find someone willing to buy first,” a trading source said.

“I have no enquiries from customers,” a trading source in Singapore told Steel First. “Everyone is waiting to see how the market moves.”

While some market participants are anticipating stronger market signals after the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) convene next week, another trader said “no news is good news”.

“There will not be any positive policy coming out of the session for the steel and coal industries. There’s only bad news or worse news,” he said.

The most-traded May coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 917 ($149) yuan per tonne on Thursday, down slightly from Wednesday’s close of 920 yuan ($150) per tonne. The most-traded May coke contract on the same exchange closed at 1,284 yuan ($209) per tonne, up 1 yuan ($0.20) from the previous close.

The yuan prices are the equivalent of cfr prices plus 17% VAT and port charges of about 35 yuan ($6).

Separately, China’s daily crude steel production totalled 1.966 million tonnes during the second ten days of February, down 5% from the first ten days of the month, according to estimates released by China Iron & Steel Assn (Cisa). As at February 20, Cisa member mills’ combined inventory of finished steel totalled 17.266 million tonnes, up 6% from February 10 levels.

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