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Coking coal prices finally steady after precipitous price drop

Coking coal prices finally steadied last Friday as Chinese buyers returned from a week-long holiday.

After rallying considerably last year, coking coal prices plunged in late 2016 until they found their recent stability. Friday’s positive turn snapped 12 weeks of consecutive declines.

Friday’s upside came as Chinese buyers and traders returned to the markets after the week-long Lunar New Year break. Coking coal turned barely positive on Friday. As Chinese markets opened, buyers returned to the seaborne coking coal market, and this supported prices. Activity is expected to increase further this week.

Adding more support to coal is an exporting delay in one of the world’s most important coal exporting regions. Loading disruptions at ports in East and South Kalimantan on the Indonesian side of Borneo island are causing delays as ships wait to be loaded. Shipping data in Thomson Reuters Eikon indicate that 136 ships were offshore Indonesia as of Feb. 6, waiting to take on coal. In the prior week, 108 ships were waiting for new cargoes. There is not a clear picture on what is causing the delays; therefore it is unknown when the issue will be mitigated. With Chinese buyers returning to the market in earnest this week, coal prices could see increased upside if the delays create a supply pinch.

Coal prices rallied last year as China curbed its coal production in order meet its goal of reducing emissions. This caused a rapid rally in prices, but this rally stalled as miners indicated they would increase production.Last week, International Coal ventures (ICVL), a consortium of five state-run coal mining operations said it would restart operations at the Benga mine in Mozambique, according to the Financial Express.

Source: Economic Calendar

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