[Ferro-Alloys.com] US coking coal prices strengthened further early last week, buoyed by supply tightness across segments and strong demand from Chinese mills for low-volatile coals stretching into March next year.
The supply tightness in the high-volatile segment is growing, with European mills entering the market for spot cargoes in the first quarter but many not finding much availability until the second quarter at least. Traders have indicated little to no availability for high-volatile B coals in January, and buyers are likely to have to turn to high-volatile A coals to meet their needs. The major suppliers are mostly committed to term supplies, while marginal producers that typically offer in the spot market have turned to domestic outlets instead of waiting for European demand to return, said a European trader.
But European mills are still making the most of the low Australian prices, with one mill securing a January-loading Panamax cargo of Peak Downs mixed with Riverside or Peak Downs North coal at $100.50/t fob Australia late last week.
The Colombian mid-volatile price is assessed unchanged at $110/t fob Colombia as limited availability has capped trade with Chinese buyers despite the interest. One trader is heard to be offering Colombian mid-volatile coal for March loading at $110/t fob. A European trading company sold an 8,000t cargo of Colombian high-volatile coking coal with 67 CSR and 8-9pc ash to a Brazilian steel mill in the last few days at an index-linked price or the equivalent of $95-100/t fob Colombia. Larger cargoes have been difficult to put together because of the high demand for Colombian coal to feed the coke plants.
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