Steelmakers see more evidence of coking coal market softness Back to News

There has been an increase in the number of unsolicited offers for the whole range of coking coals, including premium hard coking coals, reflecting a growing softness in the market, Asian and European steelmakers Friday said.

Platts lowered its hard coking coal assessments by $2/mt, with the Australian export price ending the week on $188/mt FOB Hay Point, the Chinese import price on $195/mt CFR Qingdao and the Indian import price at $205/mt CFR Paradip.

A Northeast Asian steelmaker said she had received unsolicited producer and trader offers, including for HCC. "We were surprised, as it shows the market isn't tight. It's becoming a buyer's market."

A European steel source was also getting plenty of offers.

 "We've been offered prompt positions of prime hard coking coal by one or two suppliers, and offers of trials from suppliers which were previously fully-booked," he said. He thought this meant that some Asian mills may be backing out of contractual commitments.

The source also received selling interest for semi-hard coking coal from four or five suppliers, and low-vol PCI offers from Canada and Australia totalling 300,000-400,000 mt.  In China, two steelmakers said they would agree to pay $200/mt and 210/mt CFR respectively, if offered a Panamax of top quality low vol Australian HCC.

One Jiangsu-based mill said that a large Australian producer was offering only at $230/mt CFR citing tight supply.

Domestic Chinese coking coal was reported by mill sources at Yuan 1,450-1,500/mt ($214-221/mt) delivered, including VAT, slightly higher week-on-week.

The decrease in spot coking coal Friday follows significant jumps Thursday, which took place on the back of renewed Indian buying interest.

Little evidence of this interest, and no evidence of deals could be seen Friday, although some Australian suppliers said several attempts had been made to arrange sales to India involving several coke-makers sharing a 50,000 mt cargo.

"Some blast furnaces are coming online in India without coke ovens, so small coke makers are getting business," one producer said.

He said that cargoes booked now for India could safely expect to avoid bad weather, and that demand often picked up a bit at this time. He added that further increases in demand should be expected later when the end of the monsoon would mean increased construction activity and thus steel demand.