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“Some buyers have started to ask about January cargoes, but they’re just asking. We haven’t seen any trades or possible deals,” a trading source said.

Customers wanted to hold their bookings until the last minute, she added, as they were not sure when China’s 3% import tax on coking coal from Australia would be eliminated.

Some mill sources speaking to Steel First continued to opt for prompt-loading materials as they were only buying on a hand-to-mouth basis.

“We have enough inventories until January or early February, so we’re just purchasing normally,” one mill source said. “No restocking is expected.”

Steel First’s cfr Jingtang premium hard coking coal index rose by just $0.04 to $121.72 per tonne while the cfr Jingtang hard coking coal index was flat at $111.44 per tonne.

Both fob Australia indices were unchanged at $114.11 per tonne for premium hard coking coal and $100.67 per tonne for hard coking coal.

On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, the most-traded May coking coal futures contract closed at 760 yuan ($124) per tonne on Wednesday, up from Tuesday’s close of 754 yuan ($123) per tonne.

The most-traded May coke contract also closed higher at 1,036 yuan ($169) per tonne, compared with the previous day’s close of 1,031 yuan ($168) per tonne.

Market participants said that gains in the paper market may be due to expectations of more monetary easing policies and recent rises in the equities market.