[Ferro-Alloys.com] The Chinese domestic coke prices have come under downward pressure, after holding out for five consecutive weeks, with first round of price cuts ranging between Yuan 50-100/mt taking place mid-week in Shandong, Shanxi and Tangshan regions, market sources said.
The decline in coke prices came on the back of weakened demand, as Chinese steelmakers grapple with rising steel inventories amid a gloomy outlook on steel demand.
Meanwhile, coke plants also had improved access to raw materials as logistics and transportation have gradually improved in the last two weeks.
"Coke plants profit margins range from Yuan 100-140/mt after the first round of price revision. There is still room for price to go down," a coke producer said.
Mills were also heard to have reduced production or arranged for temporary maintenance, meanwhile, so as to minimize losses and slow down the rise in steel inventories, dampening their demand for coke.
The recent decline in domestic coke prices may lend support to lump prices, with both used in blast furnace for steel making, market sources said.
"Mills under maintenance are resuming operations in March, so demand for lump usage could increase," a Chinese trader said. (S&P Global Platts)
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