Asian hard coking coal prices stable amid slack trade

Hard coking coal prices remained largely stable into Asia and out of Asutralia on Thursday March 13, with significant price drops halted amid slack trade.

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Steel mills and coking plants in China shunned recent price falls as they continue to take a wait-and-see approach against a backdrop of plentiful supply.

Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated at $126.16 per tonne on Thursday, down by $0.48 from levels seen on Wednesday.

The premium hard coking coal index fob Australia’s DBCT port was $114.91, down by $0.01 from Wednesday.

The cfr hard coking coal index stood at $116.02 per tonne, down by $0.58. The fob value was $104.84 per tonne, unchanged from Tuesday.

“I have no demand for spot cargoes now so it doesn’t make sense to me to buy anything, even though prices have declined,” a mill source told Steel First.

“The market has only somewhat stabilised in the past two days. Buyers are waiting to see whether prices hold firm for a while longer before they make purchases,” a buy-side trading source said.

Market participants speaking to Steel First considered tradable levels for top Australian brands at $125-128 per tonne cfr China and second-tier hard coking coal around $114-117 per tonne.

The most-traded September coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 853 yuan ($139) per tonne on Thursday, down from Wednesday’s close of 858 yuan ($140) per tonne.

The most-traded September coke contract closed at 1,226 yuan ($200) per tonne, up from the previous close of 1,220 yuan ($199) per tonne.

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