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Coking coal

The positive dynamics is due to increased demand and expectations of a decrease in supply in July-August

According to S&P Global, Australian coking coal quotations (FOB Australia) decreased slightly in May 2024 by $1/t – to $242/t. At the same time, prices for raw materials also fell to lower levels during this period, in particular to $239/t, but recovered at the end of the month and reached $256.2/t as of June 6.

Prices for coking coal in China (CFR China) remained unchanged in May at $257/t. They temporarily decreased by an average of $2-4/t, but rose in early June, reaching $260/t.

In May, coking coal prices were mostly stable or slightly down due to slower demand in China during the holidays and stagnant steel market, as well as increased supply. Demand from Indian consumers was strong as buyers were actively replenishing stocks ahead of the monsoon season.

At the end of the month, coking coal prices began to recover due to improved buying interest from Chinese steelmakers, who were ramping up pig iron production. This increased interest in imported cargo, especially from provinces far from the Shanxi production center.

However, some Chinese steelmakers are still cautious about purchasing imported cargoes, fearing a decline in domestic raw material prices due to shrinking margins for steelmakers.

“There are downside risks to prices in June as steel mills are expected to maintain a low inventory strategy due to concerns over controlling steel production,” a Chinese steelmaker said.

Australian coking coal prices are expected to stabilize or rise slightly this month, depending on demand. Some local producers are planning maintenance shutdowns, and the key Blackwater Coal Rail System, which connects mining companies to the port of Gladstone, will be undergoing repairs, which will reduce throughput in July and August. At the same time, a likely recovery in demand from Indian consumers after the local elections could support prices. China’s coking coal consumption will remain negatively impacted by limited real estate stimulus.

S&P Global analysts have lowered their price forecast for Australian coking coal to $283/t in 2024, down from the previous forecast of $289/t. They do not expect prices to rise above $300/t again this year due to weak steel market conditions.

The Australian government forecasts an average coking coal price of $277/t in 2024 (down from $298/t in 2023) and a decline to $185/t – by 2029.