COKING COAL DAILY: PCI price up sharply in cfr market amid new buying interest

Seaborne coking coal prices climbed in the cfr market amid tight supply and rising offers on Friday April 30, but inched lower in the fob market amid soft buying activity, market sources told Fastmarkets.

Prices for seaborne pulverized coal injection (PCI) material increased sharply in the cfr market in the week to April 30, due to persistently tight supply and rising prices for metallurgical coke, but inched down in the fob market on a recovery in supply.

Fastmarkets indices
Premium hard coking coal, fob DBCT: $110.78 per tonne, down by $2.00 per tonne
Premium hard coking coal, cfr Jingtang: $226.79 per tonne, up by $1.46 per tonne
Hard coking coal, fob DBCT: $103.87 per tonne, down by $2.07 per tonne
Hard coking coal, cfr Jingtang: $204.19 per tonne, up by $1.27 per tonne

The seaborne coking coal cfr market was quiet on April 30 in advance of the Labor Day holiday over May 1-5. Most market participants adopted a wait-and-see attitude after a deal was agreed earlier this week at $225 per tonne cfr China for US-origin premium low-volatility hard coking coal, market sources told Fastmarkets.

“After this deal, offers for Canadian hard coking coal increased to $215-220 per tonne this week,” a Shanghai based trader said. “Few buyers were willing to make bids.”

A few market sources said that only large steel mills which have the necessary restocking demand, or large back-to-back trading houses, have been taking North American coking coal cargoes recently.

In the fob coking coal market, buying activity also decreased after Vietnamese buyers left the market for their Reunification Day holiday on Friday, and most Indian buyers stayed on the sidelines, market sources told Fastmarkets.

A coke plant source in India said that some end-users have slowed down their restocking activities this week because of the increasing numbers of Covid-19 cases.

In the PCI market, the numbers of Russian cargoes with low-volatility and a firm laycan date were limited in the spot market this week, with the offer level up to about $140 per tonne cfr China, market sources said.

A 30,000-tonne cargo of Russian low-vol PCI was traded at $134 per tonne cfr China during the week, several sources told Fastmarkets on Friday.

One source with a Chinese trader of Russian coal said that the increasing domestic met coke price may also be contributing to the demand for high-quality PCI, because some high-quality, low-vol PCI can replace met coke in the hot-metal production process.

“Some coke plants have sent out a fourth round of met coke price increases, up by another 100 yuan [$15] per tonne, today [to start from May 1],” the trader source said on Friday. “That means major steel mills have accepted the third round of price increases.”

Fastmarkets’ index for PCI, low-vol, cfr Jingtang, was $136.64 per dry metric tonne on April 30, up by $7.64 per dmt on a weekly basis.

Australia-origin PCI prices were under pressure in the fob market in the week to April 30, with little buying activity, market sources told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ index for PCI, low-vol, fob DBCT, was $105.95 per dmt on April 30, down by $1.77 per tonne on a weekly basis.

Dalian Commodity Exchange
The most-traded September coking coal futures contract on the DCE closed at 1,773 yuan ($274.19) per tonne on Friday, up by 6.50 yuan per tonne.

The most-traded September coke contract closed at 2,606.50 yuan per tonne, down by 98.50 yuan per tonne.