Seaborne coking coal prices static amid buyer caution

The Asian seaborne hard coking coal spot market was largely static on Friday February 28 as Chinese buyers continued to stay on the sidelines.

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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated on February 28 at $134.16 per tonne, down by $0.78 from levels seen on Thursday.

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 $123.15 per tonne, down $0.20 from the previous day. The fob value was unchanged, standing at $113.29 per tonne.

“The market is still pretty weak as steel prices have been low and coal supply remains ample,” a trading source in Beijing told Steel First.

“I’m not looking to enter the market until at least mid-March,” another Beijing-based trader said. “I’m bearish about the market because there’s not just a lot of coal but a lot of coke too.”

Shanxi Coking Coal and Yanzhou Coal are expected to lower their prices again in March, sources said.

Prime hard coking coal from Shanxi province’s Liulin county was reportedly quoted at 1,040 yuan ($170) per tonne ex-works inclusive of VAT on Friday, down 20 yuan ($3) per tonne on the week.

Market participants speaking to Steel First considered top Australian brands tradeable at about $135 per tonne cfr China and second-tier hard coking coal at the low to mid-$120s per tonne.

The most-traded May coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 915 yuan ($149) per tonne on Friday, down 2 yuan ($0.30) from Thursday’s close and 1.8% lower compared with last Friday’s close of 932 yuan ($152) per tonne.

The most-traded May coke contract on the same exchange closed at 1,273 yuan ($208) per tonne, down 11 yuan ($2) for the day and 4.1% lower than last Friday’s close of 1,328 yuan ($217) per tonne.

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

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