Asian seaborne spot coking coal prices hold steady amid thin trade

Ample supplies of coking coal in the Asian spot markets amid steady demand saw seaborne prices unchanged on Tuesday August 19.

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“Suppliers want to push up prices but import cargoes are plentiful and there’s plenty of domestic supply on offer,” a Chinese trader told Steel First.

Top brand premium hard coking coal was reported to have been offered by Australian producers at $124-125 per tonne cfr China, with tradable levels given as $121-122 per tonne cfr.

Sources said that the spread between bids and offers for second-tier hard coking coals was widening in the face of plentiful supply.

BHP Billiton, one of the world’s largest producers of coking coal, announced on Tuesday that it planned to de-merge its iron ore and most of its coking coal businesses from its manganese, silver and aluminium operations. The miner will spin off its Illawarra coking coal mine amid its non-ferrous non-core businesses, it said.

Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated at $121.23 per tonne, down $0.08 per tonne for the day. The cfr Jingtang hard coking coal index edged up by $0.03 per tonne to $105.35 per tonne.

Both fob Australia hard coking coal indices were unchanged. The fob Australia hard coking coal index was at $97.24 per tonne while that for premium materials was at $115.70 per tonne fob.

On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, the most-traded January coking coal futures contract closed 4 yuan ($1) per tonne higher at 796 yuan ($129) per tonne on Tuesday, while the most-traded January coke contract also closed 8 yuan ($1) per tonne higher at 1,105 yuan ($180) per tonne.

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