Asian seaborne coking coal prices static on low trade

The Asian seaborne hard coking coal spot market was largely static on Thursday March 20 as weak demand continued to hinder buying interest.

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Ample port stocks with competitive prices have also made steel mills and coking plants more inclined to procure material from there, market sources told Steel First.

Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated at $121.59 per tonne on Thursday, up by $0.05 from levels seen on Wednesday.

The premium hard coking coal index fob Australia’s DBCT port was $112.79, unchanged from Wednesday.

The cfr hard coking coal index stood at $113.76 per tonne on Thursday, up by $0.55 per tonne. The fob value was $103.67 per tonne, unchanged from Wednesday.

Indicative buying interests for top Australian brands were heard about $120 per tonne cfr China and $110 per tonne for second-tier hard coking coal.

Premium mid-volatility hard coking coal was heard trading at less than 900 yuan ($146) per tonne at ports, sources told Steel First. That was equivalent to a cfr China price of less than $119 per tonne.

While steel mills and coking plants may still be able to pay around $118 per tonne cfr China for premium mid-volatility materials for forward cargoes, traders are more cautious about making purchases, a buy-side trading source said.

Several traders expressed reluctance about making bookings and wanted to wait for more stability in the market.

Tradable levels for top Australian brands are in the low $120s per tonne cfr China, while those for second-tier hard coking coal are in the low $110s per tonne, participants told Steel First.

The most-traded September coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 816 yuan ($133) per tonne on Thursday, down from Wednesday’s close of 843 yuan ($137) per tonne.

The most-traded September coke contract closed at 1,194 yuan ($194) per tonne, also down from the previous close of 1,207 yuan ($196) per tonne.

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