Prices for seaborne coking coal destined for China declined over May 25-29, bringing an end to the growth since early May, due to reduced inquiries from domestic end-users last week, according to market sources.As of May 29, Mysteel’s price for imported premium low-volatile hard coking coal softened by $8/tonne on week to $119/t CFR North China, or a nearly four-week low. The price had hit a record low of $115.75/t over April 30-May 6, according to Mysteel’s data.
However, Mysteel’s price for domestically mined, low-sulphur (lower than 0.6%) premium coking coal, was unchanged on week at Yuan 1,274.4/t including the 13% VAT, or equivalent to $158.4/t excluding the tax.
“Recently some domestic coking coal importers have delayed or even cancelled plans for seaborne coking coal procurement, fearing that China’s coal import policies will see tougher restrictions imposed on foreign coal,” said a Shanghai-based market watcher.
Through last week, transactions for seaborne coking coal were as low as the previous week after the mid-May plunge, among which most deals were concluded with a June laycan, according to Mysteel’s data.
Other than China, seaborne coking coal demand from other leading coal importing countries stayed subdued, impacted by the pandemic, the market watcher observed.
As of May 28, the stocks of imported coking coal at the five Chinese ports Mysteel surveys weekly rose by 340,000 tonnes or 7% on week to 5 million tonnes, according to Mysteel’s survey. Among the total, Jingtang port had the largest proportion of imported coking coal inventories, whose volume had increased by 150,000 tonnes or 5% on week to 3.3 million tonnes as of May 28.
“The rise in imported coking coal stocks at Chinese ports was largely due to the concentrated bookings placed by domestic users or traders in April, when the price declined sharply,” said another Shanghai-based industrial source.
Opposite to the trend in the seaborne price, the price for imported premium coking coal at the portside market in North China stayed firm at some Yuan 1,300/t including the 13% VAT last week, he said.