Buyer-seller standoff leaves seaborne hard coking coal prices static

The Asian seaborne hard coking coal spot market saw a stand-off between sellers and buyers on Wednesday April 2 as the latter stayed unmoved by higher offer prices.

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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated at $121.50 per tonne on Wednesday, up by $0.48 from prices seen on Tuesday.

The premium hard coking coal index fob Australia’s DBCT port was $110.74, up by $0.05 from Tuesday.

The cfr hard coking coal index stood at $110.73 per tonne on Wednesday, down by $0.19 per tonne. The fob value was $99.38 per tonne, unchanged from the day before.

Many suggested that the market has seen a bottom and that sellers were therefore unwilling to commit to current prices. Top Australian brands were heard offered at about $126-127 per tonne cfr China, while material similar to BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Goonyella was heard offered at levels in the low $120s per tonne cfr China.

Buyers, on the other hand, said that demand remained weak and that few transactions have been concluded higher than the market. They considered premium Australian materials tradeable in the low $120s per tonne cfr China, and second-tier hard coking coal in the low $110s per tonne.

Offers for second-tier hard coking coal remained scant, market sources said.

The most-traded September coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 828 yuan ($134) per tonne on Wednesday, down from Tuesday’s close of 834 yuan ($135) per tonne.

The most-traded September coke contract also closed lower, at 1,219 yuan ($197) per tonne, compared with the previous close of 1,225 yuan ($198) per tonne.

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