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Metallurgical coal import tags dip in weak market

Keywords: Tags  metallurgical coal, coal imports, China imports, hard coking coal, steel demand, Daisy Tseng

SINGAPORE — China’s metallurgical coal import market lost traction during the week ended March 1, with few buyers in the market, traders told AMM sister publication Steel First.

"Sentiment is looking bearish. Not many people want to buy at the moment," a trader in Singapore said.

"Prices have been rising for a while already and we’re starting to see the market is not able to take such high prices, as steel is not performing too well," a Rizhao-based trader said, adding that uncertainty over the government’s attitude on the real estate market has also affected market confidence to some degree.

"There are still some migrant workers who haven’t returned to their work after Chinese New Year, so a lot of machinery works have yet to start officially. It’s hard to say now whether the steel demand is not in its full swing (because they haven’t returned to work) or if it’s just (plain) sluggish," a trader in Shanghai said.

China’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the manufacturing sector fell for a second month to 50.1 in February from 50.4 the previous month.

A capesize cargo of hard coking coal for March loading from BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance’s Peak Downs Mine in Queensland, Australia, was said to have been concluded at more than $182 per tonne c.f.r. China.

Traders speaking to Steel First pegged low-volatility hard coking coal at or below $180 per tonne c.f.r. China and mid-volatility hard coking coal at about $165 per tonne.

A 70,000-tonne cargo of Australian hard coking coal with 7.5 percent ash, 22 percent volatile matter, 0.4 percent sulfur, 10 percent total moisture, 55 to 60 percent coke strength after reaction (CSR), a crucible swell number (CSN) of seven and maximum fluidity below 100 dial divisions per minute (ddpm) was offered at $170 per tonne c.f.r. China for March loading.

A trader said he would only accept the cargo at a price in the low $160s as the maximum fluidity is too low.

A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.

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