Asian seaborne hard coking coal spot market sees wider bid-offer gap

The Asian seaborne hard coking coal spot market saw the price gap between bids and offers widen on Friday May 23 amid a lack of clear direction.

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The persistent weakness seen across China’s futures market led most buyers to lower their indicative bids while sellers refused to budge on offer prices.

The most-traded September coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed lower by 2 yuan ($0.32) at 815 yuan ($132) per tonne, while the most-traded September coke contract closed down by 1 yuan ($0.16) at 1,147 yuan ($186) per tonne.

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

Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis inched up by $0.10 per tonne to $123.83 per tonne, but the hard coking coal index moved down by $0.05 to $113.34 per tonne.

Both fob Australia numbers were unchanged at $116.86 per tonne for premium hard coking coal and $102.91 per tonne for hard coking coal.

There were talks in the market about an Australian premium low-volatility material being traded at $129 per tonne cfr China. Most sources speaking to Steel First said that other buyers were unlikely to match that price.

“There are some pockets of demand out there because many mills and coking plants have been trying to lower their stockpile levels. These requirements, however, are easily fulfilled by domestic materials and those at the ports,” a trading source said.

“The demand is still generally weak; not many really want to buy,” the source added.

A total of 10.42 million tonnes of coking coal was reported to be sitting at Chinese main ports on Friday, up from 9.57 million tonnes seen a week ago.

Jingtang port also saw its inventory go up to 3.75 million tonnes, compared with 3.49 million tonnes last Friday.