COKING COAL DAILY: Premium product prices rise

The cfr China segment of the seaborne premium hard coking coal market picked up some strength on Tuesday April 16 after a steelmaker snapped up several available cargoes.

A Panamax shipment of a top Australian brand that is on its way to China was sold at $203.50 per tonne cfr China, both counterparties confirmed to Fastmarkets on Tuesday April 16.

A Capesize shipment of premium mid-vol hard coking coal, scheduled for loading over May 1-15, was also traded at $201 per tonne cfr China, while a lower-ranked cargo in the same segment that is en route to China, changed hands at $199 per tonne cfr China.

All three cargoes were snapped up by the same steelmaker in northern China due to a ramp-up of output at its new coke plant, a source at the mill said.

“Offers have jumped by $9-10 per tonne within a day’s time for two cargoes of premium mid-vol [hard coking coal]. We will look at other alternatives before buying,” a southern Chinese mill source said.

Premium mid-vol cargoes are now being offered at $195-202 per tonne cfr China, sources said during the day. A lower-ranked second-tier cargo was heard offered at $192 per tonne cfr China.

“Seaborne coking coal prices will get a boost with the recent optimism in the coke market,” a Chinese trading source said.

While calls have emerged among coke producers in China for prices for the steelmaking raw material to be raised by 100 yuan ($14.90) per tonne this week, they have yet to gain traction.

“Mills generally still have a lot of [coke] inventory. The price increase will not likely be realized this week. But perhaps [later] this month. I am cautiously optimistic,” a Chinese coke trader said.

In the pulverized coal injection (PCI) segment, a low-vol product was sold at $130 per tonne fob Australia to an end user in India.

Indicative offers for two cargoes of lower-ranked mid-vol PCI have also emerged around $128 per tonne fob Australia this week.

The Dalian Commodity Exchange’s most-traded September coking coal futures contract closed at 1,319.50 yuan per tonne on Tuesday, down 6.50 yuan per tonne from Monday.

The most-traded September coke contract closed at 2,061 yuan per tonne, up 11 yuan per tonne for the day.

The Fastmarkets MB cfr China Premium Hard Coking Coal Index rose $1.73 per tonne to $201.80 per tonne while its hard coking coal index increased by $3.28 per tonne to $187.84 per tonne.

The fob Australia premium hard coking coal index gained $0.20 per tonne to $205.24 per tonne while the hard coking coal index remained flat, at $175.07 per tonne.

The fob Australia low-vol PCI index rose $0.99 per tonne to $131.93 per tonne while the cfr China equivalent was unchanged, at $140.12 per tonne.