Weak Chinese market keeps seaborne coking coal prices subdued

Fundamental weakness in the Chinese steel market continues to hold back any significant pick-up in seaborne coking coal prices, sources told Steel First on Wednesday September 24.

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A major Australian producer was reported to have offered a cargo of top-tier premium hard coking coal at $123 per tonne earlier this week. A major Chinese steel producer has accepted the offer, a trader in Singapore said.

“This is the same sort of price we saw the last cargo trade at,” the trader said. “This is about $1-2 [per tonne] lower than we saw a week ago, and I think it is because the producers know they won’t be able to push through higher prices with the macro[-economic] situation being what it is.”

A cargo of German Creek premium hard coking coal was heard offered at $121-122 per tonne.

Tightness continues to be perceived in the second-tier hard coking coal market, with few offers reported.

Sources said that they expected few deals to be done over the next two weeks or so, with many market participants out for an industry meeting in Seoul at the end of the week.

Steel First’s cfr Jingtang premium hard coking coal index was calculated at $121.36 per tonne on Wednesday, down by $1.60 from Tuesday’s level.

The cfr Jingtang hard coking coal index was down by $0.80 at $108.03 per tonne.

The fob Australia premium hard coking coal index dropped by $1.98 to $111.56 per tonne, while the fob Australia hard coking coal index was unchanged.

On the Dalian Commodity Exchange, the most-traded January coking coal futures contract closed at 787 yuan ($128.07) per tonne on Wednesday, up from Tuesday’s close of 784 yuan ($127.58) per tonne.

The most-traded January coke contract also closed up, at 1,068 yuan ($173.80) per tonne, compared with the previous trading day’s close of 1,066 yuan ($173.48) per tonne.

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