Production area Thermal coal supply was still in tightness at production regions, as some coal mines in Ordos of Inner Mongolia halted production due to the exhausted coal sales quotas. Demand from downstream buyers remained strong amid high daily consumption, and trucks were lining up for coal loading at production regions. Coal prices climbed up after the lift of price guidance by the government in Yulin of Shanxi, with a few miners raising prices sharply. Miners held that coal prices are unlikely to drop, given present supply-demand fundamentals.
Northern port Trading activities were tranquil, as most market participants were in sidelines. Transaction prices were largely flat from the levels late last week, and are likely to stay at the high levels backed by a new round of restocking outlook after the withdrawal of typhoon In-fa.
Import market Import market was also tepid. Domestic power plants had secured enough goods, while mid- and late-September cargoes were offered at higher prices. Downstream buyers were in the sidelines, given likeliness of some downward correction from the present highs. Indonesian 3,800 Kcal/kg NAR thermal coal were offered at $70-71/t FOB, on Supramax basis.
Coking coal delivery was constrained by transportation impediment caused by rainstorm-induced floods, which also had negative impact on coking coal production. Coal prices maintained the upward trend, high-sulfur primary coking coal (S 2.0-2.3%) in Liulin of Luliang were traded up to 1,850-1,950 yuan/t, ex-washplant, in cash. Auction prices of coking coal at large coal mines in Shanxi declined 30-225 yuan/t from the week before, impacted by expectation for coke production restriction in Luliang. However, local coking coal mines still saw prices move up.
Ganqimaodu border crossing had 166 coal-laden trucks clear customs on July 27. Coking coal prices went up further, and Mongolian #5 coking coal was traded at 2,400 yuan/t, DDP Tangshan and on banker's draft, up 180 yuan/t.
Some coking plants reported losses due to escalated environmental inspections and price rallies of coking coal. Coke supply was even tightened, as coking plants cut production by 20-50% in many places, and newly commissioned coking plants were asked to empty coke oven or to delay coking for incomplete procedure in Luliang of Shanxi. Steel mills were active in coke buying, noting transportation impediment and some steel mills had intentions to build up coke stocks in anticipation of rising prices of coke. Some steel mills had willingness to raise prices of wet quenching top-charging coke by 120 yuan/t.
(Writing by Lilya Li Editing by Tammy Yang)
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