Bearish sentiment hits seaborne coking coal market as Anglo, BMA settle Q1 2014 benchmarks

The spot price for seaborne hard coking coal was little changed on Thursday December 19 as bearish sentiment prevailed.

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Major coking coal miners Anglo American and the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) were reported to have settled first quarter 2014 term price contracts with mills in Japan and Europe respectively.

Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis pushed up to $148.69 per tonne on December 19, up $0.27 per tonne from Wednesday.

Premium hard coking coal prices on an fob DBCT Australia basis were calculated at $135.41 per tonne, down $1.08 from Wednesday.

The price for hard coking coal cfr Jingtang stood at $136.32 per tonne on Thursday, down $0.36 per tonne from Wednesday’s levels.

Hard coking coal fob DBCT was $124.33 per tonne, up $0.02 per tonne from levels seen on Wednesday.

“I don’t want to take cargoes now because I think the market will fall after the Chinese New Year at the end of January,” a mill source told Steel First.

Multiple traders also reported low interest from customers and said that tight credit continues to restrain demand.

The most-traded May coking coal contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 1,071 yuan ($175) per tonne on Thursday, down from Wednesday’s close of 1,076 yuan ($176) per tonne. The most-traded May coke contract on the exchange closed at 1,557 yuan ($255) per tonne, down 5 yuan ($1) from the previous close.

Separately, the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) has concluded its first-quarter benchmark negotiations with European mills and settled Peak Downs and Saraji at $143 per tonne fob Australia, and Goonyella at $140 per tonne, several sources told Steel First.

Anglo American was also heard to have settled the Q1 benchmark at $143 per tonne fob Australia for German Creek with Japanese steel mills. BMA is expected to reach a similar settlement figure, a source said.

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