Asian seaborne metallurgical coal market gains leave buyers unfazed

Many buyers in the Asian seaborne metallurgical coal spot market have remained unperturbed by reports of higher transaction levels heard in the past few days.

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“Bids from my customers are still lacklustre,” a trading source told Steel First on Thursday November 6.

Other traders and end-users who spoke to Steel First were keeping their assessment of top Australia brands at $120-122 per tonne cfr China.

“It looks unlikely that the market will go up by a lot in the short term because it is an over-supplied market, after all,” a mill source said.

The first trading source agreed. He added that even though headline prices for Chinese domestic met coal have gone up, private discounts were prevailing.

He did not expect any winter restocking to take place, particularly since China’s railway infrastructure has been improved to withstand low temperatures.

While Chinese buyers have been making enquiries about second-tier hard coking coal and semi-hard materials, their Japanese counterparts were said to be looking for pulverised coal injection (PCI) products in their bid to increase production and productivity.

“[Japanese mills] are looking for low-volatility and low-ash PCIs, but it has been difficult to get them from Russia these days as they’ve been shipping to Ukraine,” a source said.

Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated at $123.09 per tonne, up by $0.59 per tonne. The cfr Jingtang hard coking coal index went down to $111.08 per tonne.

The fob Australia premium hard coking coal index rose by $1.91 to $113.40 per tonne, while the fob Australia hard coking coal index rose by $1.37 to $101.94 per tonne.

On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, the most-traded January coking coal futures contract closed at 750 yuan ($122.01) per tonne on Thursday, up slightly from 747 yuan ($121.60) per tonne a day earlier.

The most-traded January coke futures contract also edged up to 1,063 yuan ($173.04) per tonne, from its closing price of 1,060 yuan ($172.55) per tonne on Wednesday.