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General sentiment remained weak, and many market participants expected prices to fall further.

While no official announcement has been made, several sources said that it is almost certain that Shanxi Coking Coal will lower the prices for some of its metallurgical coal products by around 20-30 yuan ($3-5) per tonne for June.

“[Seaborne] prices into China are coming off a little bit, as demand is weak and inventories are ample,” a producer source told Steel First.

“We have more than 1 million tonnes of imported materials in stock and they can last for around three months. I’m only buying if something is especially cheap,” a mill source said.

A total of 11.21 million tonnes of coking coal was reported to be sitting at Chinese main ports on Friday, up from 10.42 million tonnes last Friday. Jingtang port also saw its inventories rise again to 4.27 million tonnes, compared with 3.75 million tonnes a week ago.

“The market is looking for direction at the moment. Maybe the Q3 benchmark will give some clarity,” the producer source added.

The most-traded September coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 820 yuan ($133) per tonne on Friday, slightly up from Thursday’s close of 818 yuan ($132) per tonne.

The most-traded September coke contract closed at 1,159 yuan ($187.70) per tonne, down from the previous close of 1,160 yuan ($187.85) per tonne.

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