Miners further raised mine-mouth prices of thermal coal, which, however, was not yet accepted by utilities.
Expecting faster increase in output, most utilities slowed coal purchases, resulting in an excess of trucking capacity and a decline in truck freight.
The freight for trucking coal from Ordos of Inner Mongolia to Tianjin port fell 50 yuan/t, market sources said. This may press down prices at the port.
Traders were in a heavy wait-and-see sentiment, as utilities showed less interest in spot supplies while focusing procurement of contract coal from large miners.
It was said that the government aimed to boost coal stocks at Qinhuangdao to 8 million tonnes by the end of this month.
Offer prices for 0.8% sulfur 5,500 Kcal/kg and 5,000 Kcal/kg NAR coal were heard steady at 740-750 yuan/t and 670-680 yuan/t FOB with VAT, respectively.
Chinese traders have turned prudent towards thermal coal imports, as domestic supply is steadily rising.
Capesize cargoes of Australian 5,500 Kcal/kg NAR coal were offered at $87-88/t FOB. Offers of Indonesian 3,800 Kcal/kg and 4,700 Kcal/kg NAR coal were heard at $52-53/t and $75-77/t FOB, respectively.
The upward strength of coking coal weakened at production bases, but supply remained tight and demand stayed firm as most steel mills continued to restock to prepare for the winter season.
No deals on imported spot material were heard concluded. Most traders were cautious in buying import material amid high offer prices and turned to purchase low-priced domestic product, further adding to tightness at domestic market.
Starting from November 15, one Hebei-based large coke producer raised price by 150 yuan/t, with Quasi Grade I coke price climbing to 2,170-2,180 yuan/t, DDP Tangshan with 17% VAT.
Metallurgical coke in central Shandong also rose 150 yuan/t, with Grade II met coke and Quasi Grade I met coke at 2,110 yuan/t and 2,210 yuan/t, ex-plant basis with VAT respectively.
(Writing by Jessie Jia Editing by Harry Huo)
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