Asia Coal-Australia thermal coal prices steady in slow market

PERTH, July 26 Tue Jul 26, 2011 3:48pm IST

PERTH, July 26 (Reuters) - Australia's thermal coal prices, a benchmark for Asia, were steady in the past week as demand from Japan remained flat and Chinese demand waned.

Thermal coal on the globalCOAL Newcastle index for the week to date was $120.63 per tonne on Thursday, essentially unchanged from $120.75 per tonne a week earlier.

"We haven't heard a lot of transactions, it's been very quiet," a Sydney based source said.

Demand for Australian coal has been relatively depressed since March when Japan, Australia's largest coal customer was hit with a tsunami that took some coal plants offline.

Thermal coal shipments from Australia's Newcastle port, the nation's biggest thermal coal port, dropped 5.5 percent in the week to Monday.

"There's still not a lot of pickup in demand from Japan," another source said.

Japan's Itochu Corp said earlier this week that it expects Japan's thermal coal demand to drop up to 10 percent in 2011.

Japan's Chugoku Electric Power Co said it has no plans to boost fossil fuel purchases to make up for lost generating capacity from the unplanned shutdown of its Misumi coal-fired plant due to technical trouble.

In China, domestic thermal coal prices were steady at 840 yuan ($130.334) a tonne for 5,500 kcal/kg NAR coal, as the world's largest energy consumer entered a seasonal lull in demand.

Asian prices have so far been unaffected by coal strikes in South Africa, where about 150,000 coal workers seeking 14 percent wage increases walked off the job on Monday.

ADDITIONAL REUTERS COAL COVERAGE:

Reuters coal data guide..............

All coal news........................

Power and gas news...................

RECURRING MARKET/DATA REPORTS

Australian spot prices..............

Australia Newcastle stocks..........

China monthly coal import/export....

Coal Freight prices.................

TRADES AND TENDERS

Spot trades...

Coal tenders...

COAL PRICES

McCloskeys weekly physical spot/freight prices.<0#MCC-CASH>

API4 coal paper prices, McCloskeys............<0#MCC-C-API4>

API2 coal paper prices, McCloskeys............<0#MCC-C-API2>

Indonesian Govt Coal Benchmark................<0#COAL-ID> ($1 = 6.445 Chinese Yuan) (Editing by Himani Sarkar)

Politics