Asian seaborne coking coal market downbeat on wait-and-see approach

The Asian seaborne hard coking coal market remained downbeat on Thursday March 6, as Chinese buyers adopted a wait-and-see approach.

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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated at $133.78 per tonne on Thursday, down by $0.33 from levels seen on Wednesday.

The premium hard coking coal index fob Australia’s DBCT port was $123.24, up by $0.06 from Wednesday.

The cfr hard coking coal index stood at $122.00 per tonne, down by $0.31 from the previous day. The fob value was unchanged at $112.44 per tonne.

“As a steelmaker, our priority, when it comes to raw material and fuel sourcing, is cost control. Now that domestic coking coal and coke prices have fallen a lot, we’d like to wait for a while before we make new bookings,” a steel mill source in Jiangsu province said.

“Some offers of imported coking coal remained high. They are not tradable prices,” she added.

Some traders admitted the difficulties they were facing in their bid to sell coking coal to Chinese mills.

“The market demands a lower price, but the cost of our previous bookings was high. We are open to negotiations but we cannot possibly bear the losses ourselves by lowering prices,” a trader in Shanghai said.

Uncertainty remains, and market activity has fallen, several other traders said.

The most-traded May coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 874 yuan ($143) per tonne on Thursday, compared with 892 yuan ($146) per tonne on the previous trading day.

The most-traded September coke contract on the same exchange closed at 1,224 yuan ($200) per tonne, compared with 1,238 yuan ($202) per tonne on Wednesday.

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

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