Asia metallurgical coal prices edge higher

Asia-Pacific metallurgical coal prices to China moved slightly higher on firm expectations while the FOB market continued to see active trading for competitively priced premium coals.

S&P Global Platts assessed Premium Low-Vol HCC up $1/mt on week at $102.50/mt FOB Australia Dec. 31, while delivered prices to China were up $1/mt to $202.00/mt CFR China.

In China, trading activity was thin but near-term expectation was firm on limited availabilities of spot tonnages from non-Australian suppliers. Market participants said that tight supply of domestic and Mongolian coals as well as restocking demand might keep prices supported.

In the coke segment, Chinese domestic steelmakers accepted an 11th round of price increases by Yuan 100/mt, sources said, bringing the total increase to Yuan 600/mt. Market participants said that the upward momentum was expected to continue in Q1 2021.

High steel production rates are expected to leads to firm demand for coke, while production cuts cause supply shortages. This imbalance in demand-supply dynamics has supported a surge in coke prices, and the tightness will only ease when new capacity is implemented and able to run at high rates, an industry source said.

In the ex-China market, buying interest was seen for competitively priced premium coking coal materials. However, prices were still hovering around $100/mt FOB Australia as market fundamentals remained largely unchanged, market sources said.