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Steel First's premium hard coking coal for materials sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated at $124.75 per tonne, up $0.66 per tonne from Wednesday's level. The hard coking coal index inched up $0.07 to $114.21 per tonne.

Both fob Australia indices for premium hard coking coal and hard coking coal remained unchanged at $116.37 per tonne and $103.26 per tonne.

Steel mills and coking plants told Steel First they were willing to pay $124-126 per tonne cfr China for premium low-volatility Australian brands.

“There have not been a lot of offers recently because prices in China have been relatively low,” a mill source said.

On the second-tier segment, buyers kept their buying interests at $112-115 per tonne cfr China while offers are heard at around $117 per tonne.

Trades remained thin, however, with competitive domestic coal prices and weak demand repeatedly being cited as reasons for buyer reluctance.

The most-traded September coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 832 yuan ($135) per tonne on Thursday, down from Wednesday’s close of 847 yuan ($137) per tonne.

The most-traded September coke contract also closed lower at 1,186 yuan ($192) per tonne, compared with the previous close of 1,199 yuan ($194) per tonne.

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