High port stocks, slack buying interest subdues spot coking coal prices

The seaborne hard coking coal market was virtually static on Monday December 2 as the effects of the year-end cash squeeze continued to subdue sales and stock levels at ports remained high.

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Steel First’s cfr Jingtang premium hard coking coal index stood at $150.46 per tonne on December 2, up $0.41 from levels seen on Friday.

Premium hard coking coal prices fob DBCT Australia were calculated at $140.55 per tonne, down $0.35 per tonne from Friday.

The price for hard coking coal cfr Jingtang stood at $139.89 per tonne on Friday, down $0.77 per tonne from Friday.

Hard coking coal fob DBCT was $126.41 per tonne, up by $2.21 per tonne on the day.

“The market has not changed much from last week with thin liquidity,” a trading source in Shanghai told Steel First.

Last week, a top Australian brand with about 70% coke strength after reaction (CSR) was reportedly traded at $152 per tonne cfr China, while a second-tier hard coking coal with around 64% CSR was heard concluded at $142 per tonne cfr China.

Sources said these levels were in line with market expectations, but prices may edge down further this week.

A tender for an Australian brand with around 63% CSR was reported on Monday. It is expected to be concluded later this week.

Buying interest from European mills remains slack, with few mills in the market for spot premium hard coking coals. Interest in cheaper pulverised coal injection material and semi-soft remains more robust.

A total of 5.25 million tonnes of coking coal was reportedly sitting at the Jingtang port on Monday, up from 5.22 million tonnes a week ago.

Rizhao port saw 2.16 million tonnes of inventory on Monday, also up from 2.12 million tonnes reported last week.

The Dalian Commodity Exchange’s most-traded coking coal futures contract, ‘May’ closed at 1,118 yuan per tonne on Monday, up from Friday’s close of 1,113 yuan ($182) per tonne.

The most-traded ‘May’ coke contract closed at 1,629 yuan per tonne on the same exchange, also up from the close of 1,616 yuan ($264) per tonne on Friday.