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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated at $123 per tonne, down by $0.21 on the day. The hard coking coal index edged up by just $0.04 to $111.03 per tonne.

The fob Australia premium hard coking coal index went up by $0.40 to stand at $116.70 per tonne, while the hard coking coal number remained unchanged at $103.53 per tonne.

“Buying interest is still pretty weak,” a trading source in China told Steel First. His customers considered price levels at ports and those for forward cargoes to be still too high in the face of lacklustre steel prices, he added.

“I think the best-case scenario is that [seaborne prices] hold at current levels. Most people are pretty bearish and we’re entering the traditional low season for steel sales,” the source said.

The market will continue to edge lower, as steel prices and iron ore prices were still weak, a mill source said.

Steel billet in Tangshan remained priced at 2,790 yuan ($454) per tonne ex-works inclusive of VAT on Wednesday. Metal Bulletin’s 62% Fe Iron Ore Index was at $93.51 per tonne cfr Qingdao on Tuesday, down by $0.95 per tonne from Monday’s level.

In Japan, quarterly benchmark negotiations are still continuing, sources said, and results were expected within the next week.

The most-traded September coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 824 yuan ($134) per tonne on Wednesday, down slightly from Tuesday’s close of 829 yuan ($135) per tonne.

The most-traded September coke contract also closed lower at 1,152 yuan ($187) per tonne, compared with the previous close of 1,166 yuan ($190) per tonne.

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