Bearish sentiment dominates seaborne coking coal market ahead of Chinese New Year

The Asian seaborne hard coking coal spot market was dominated by bearish sentiment on Thursday January 23 as buyers retreated ahead of the Chinese New Year holiday.

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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis dropped by $0.91 to $139.49 per tonne on Thursday.

Premium hard coking coal index prices fob Australia’s DBCT port dropped by $0.25 to $129.69 per tonne.

The price for hard coking coal stood at $127.71 per tonne cfr Jingtang, down by $2.29. Hard coking coal fob Australia edged up by $1.48 to $116.49 per tonne.

“No one is willing to buy at the moment; customers want to wait until after Chinese New Year. So no matter how low your offers are, transactions are very unlikely to happen,” a trading source in Shanghai told Steel First.

“Many of the decision makers at steel mills and coking plants are either on leave already or in holiday mood. No contracts can be signed, and no letters of credit can be issued,” he added.

Ample inventories at steel mills and coking plants as well as bearish near-term outlook have also made sales difficult.

Market participants speaking to Steel First considered top Australian brands tradable at around $140 per tonne China and second-tier hard coking coal at just below $130 per tonne cfr China.

The most-traded May coking coal contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 943 yuan ($155) per tonne, up from Wednesday’s close of 931 yuan ($153) per tonne. The most-traded May coke contract on the exchange closed 1,355 yuan ($222) per tonne, also up from 1,340 yuan ($220) per tonne seen the previous day.

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