Chinese coking coal buyers out of spot market

The Asian seaborne hard coking coal spot market was largely static on Tuesday February 25 as market participants remained on the sidelines.

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Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis was calculated on February 25 at $135.99 per tonne, up by $0.16 from levels seen on Monday.

The premium hard coking coal index fob Australia’s DBCT port was unchanged at $126.34 per tonne.

The cfr hard coking coal index stood at $124.11 per tonne, down by $0.23 from the previous day. The fob value was unchanged, at $114.51 per tonne.

Sentiment deteriorated following the slump recorded in the futures markets on Monday, while the price of billet in Tangshan fell by 30 yuan ($5) per tonne on Tuesday to 2,860 yuan ($467) per tonne ex-works inclusive of VAT.

Several mill sources said that they were not interested in spot cargoes as they were keeping their inventory levels low. Trading sources also told Steel First that their customers wanted to buy only in smaller volumes.

“Coking plants in Tangshan now have only around five to six days’ worth of stockpiles. Previously, they would have had about two weeks’ worth of inventory,” a Tianjin-based trader said.

“One customer bought 2,000 tonnes of coal from me yesterday. They don’t want to buy a lot at once, but they’ll come back in another two days, as they think the prices will continue to fall,” another trader said.

The most-traded May coking coal futures contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 911 yuan ($149) per tonne on Tuesday, up from Monday’s close of 906 yuan ($148) per tonne.

The most-traded May coke contract on the same exchange closed at 1,279 yuan ($209) per tonne, also up marginally from the previous day’s close of 1,277 yuan ($208) per tonne.

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

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