Seaborne coking coal prices largely unchanged on weak demand

Activity in the seaborne hard coking coal spot market was muted on Monday January 20, with prices largely unchanged and bearish sentiment continuing to weigh on buying interest.

Paragraph entered by Atlantic migration, in order for SteelFirst articles to display correctly on Metal Bulletin.

Steel First’s premium hard coking coal index for material sold on a cfr Jingtang basis edged up by $0.07 to $142.92 per tonne on Monday.

Premium hard coking coal index prices fob Australia’s DBCT port were unchanged at $130.35 per tonne.

The price for hard coking coal stood at $130.33 per tonne cfr Jingtang on Monday, down by $1.29 from Friday. Hard coking coal fob Australia stood at $120.33, unchanged from Friday.

Drops in the derivatives market also kept market participants away.

The most-traded May coking coal contract on the Dalian Commodity Exchange closed at 927 yuan ($152) per tonne on Monday, down by 3.7% from Friday’s close of 963 yuan ($158) per tonne.

The most-traded May coke contract on the exchange also closed lower, at 1,346 yuan ($221) per tonne, a 2.1% drop from the previous close of 1,375 yuan ($226) per tonne.

Lower domestic coke and coal prices as well as those for steel did not help with market confidence. Ample stockpiles at ports and high inventory levels also resulted in coke producers and steel mills being reluctant to make full-cargo purchases.

“In this falling market, it’s better for end-customers to buy 10,000 tonnes or 20,000 tonnes at a time at ports, so that they can get the lowest prices,” a trading source in Tianjin said.

Market participants speaking to Steel First considered top Australian brands tradable at prices lower than $145 per tonne cfr China and second-tier hard coking coal at the low $130s per tonne cfr.