Asian coking coal buyers remain on sidelines amid plentiful supply

The Asian seaborne hard coking coal spot market remained sluggish on Friday February 21 as most participants stayed on the sidelines.

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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated on February 21 at $135.88 per tonne, up $0.19 from levels seen on Thursday.

The premium hard coking coal index fob Australia’s DBCT port also edged higher, pushing up $0.68 to $126.22 per tonne.

The cfr hard coking coal index stood at $124.22 per tonne, down $0.41from the previous day. The fob value remained unchanged at $114.25 per tonne

“Several end users did a bit of restocking late last week and earlier this week, but supply outstrips demand now,” a trading source in Beijing told Steel First.

Those who did make purchases bought only small volumes. Several market sources said they had seen fewer Capesize vessels recently as buyers opted for the smaller Panamaxes. Also, some buyers asked for two to three different brands in one Panamax vessel.

“The market is still pretty weak,” a trading source in Shanghai said. “Steel product sales remain lacklustre and domestic coal prices are expected to fall further next month.

Prime hard coking coal from Liulin, Shanxi was reportedly quoted at 1,060 yuan ($173) per tonne ex-works inclusive of VAT, down 10 yuan ($2) from levels seen last Friday.

The most-traded May coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed 1 yuan lower at 932 yuan ($152) per tonne on Friday, but up from last Friday’s close of 926 yuan ($151) per tonne.

The most-traded May coke contract on the exchange also closed 6 yuan ($1) lower on the day at 1,328 yuan ($217) per tonne, compared with last Friday’s close of 1,316 yuan ($215) per tonne.

The yuan prices equal cfr prices plus 17% VAT and port charges of around 35 yuan ($6).