China's thermal coal supply increased slightly amid ongoing safety and environmental checks.
Price of lump coal fell slightly while that of slack coal was stable in western Inner Mongolia. Truck freight for moving coal from production bases to northern ports dropped a little.
As leading miners hiked prices of contract coal for April sales, Chinese utilities are likely to purchase spot coal intensively in early and mid-April, which may support price of the fossil fuel in the near term.
Mainstream offer price for 5,500 Kcal/kg NAR coal was heard at 690-695 yuan/t FOB with VAT.
Market participants predicted Indonesian coal arrivals to increase in early and mid-April. Chinese traders accelerated selling Indonesian coal at prices lower than overseas miners. Indonesian 3,800 Kcal/kg NAR coal was offered at $46/t FOB.
Regarding Australian coal, most traders in China took a wait-and-see approach, given market risks. Australian 5,500 Kcal/kg NAR coal was offered at $73/t FOB.
One large miner in Yanzhou of Shandong scrapped discounts for coking coal customers, which may be followed by producers in Hebei.
Major coking coal producers in Xingxian county of Shanxi raised washed gas coal price by 60 yuan/t, effective April 1. The ex-washplant price for 0.8% sulfur washed gas coal was at 715 yuan/t with VAT for bankers' draft.
There were no offers for imported Australian coking coal at ports in China. Price of imported Mongolian coking coal rose by 30 yuan/t. The uptrend in import market may support China's domestic coking coal prices.
With moderate coke stocks, major steel mills in China would continue active buying of coke, as they worried price of the steel-making material may further go up later.
Coke transport was disrupted in some areas of Hebei because of environment check. In Shanxi and Shandong, coke production and delivery was also affected by environment inspection.
Overall, coke supply remained somewhat tight in China, which was expected to underpin a strong rally in coke price in the short run.
(Writing by Jessie Jia Editing by Harry Huo)
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