Asian spot coking coal prices stable as steel prices show modest recovery

The Asian seaborne hard coking coal spot market was unchanged on Thursday April 3, as prices for steel strengthened while those for coke stabilised.

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Steel First's premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated at $121.50 per tonne on Thursday, unchanged from levels seen on Wednesday.

The premium hard coking coal index fob Australia's DBCT port was $110.74, also unchanged from levels seen on Wednesday.

The cfr hard coking coal index stood at $110.73 per tonne on Thursday, down by $0.19 per tonne. The fob value was $99.38 per tonne, unchanged from the day before.

Shenhua Group is said to be rolling over its March coke prices for April, defying market expectations of a 30-50 yuan (5-8) per tonne price cut. Shanxi Coking Coal has yet to announce its April prices while Kailuan Group and Jizhong Energy Resources are heard to be keeping April coking coal prices unchanged.

Coking coal is usually the last to reflect market movement in the value chain, and is typically preceded by coke and steel products.

In the imported physical market, however, few trades were heard, participants told Steel First.

“Most people feel the market has reached the bottom and that’s affecting the general sentiment,” a trading source said.

Elsewhere, the debt issues of a Chinese coal producer saw Shanxi province-based Zhongyang Steel have its credit lines cut off due to its pact with debt-laden local coal producer Liansheng.

Liansheng, with debts exceeding 30 billion yuan ($4.87 billion), had been discussing restructuring plans with the local government and several financial institutions over the past four months, according to a report by the Economic Information Daily.

The most-traded coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 856 yuan ($139) per tonne on Thursday, up from Wednesday’s close of 828 yuan ($134) per tonne. The most-traded coke contract also closed higher at 1,236 yuan ($200) per tonne, compared with the previous close of 1,219 yuan ($198) per tonne.

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

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