Asia Coal-Australia thermal coal prices steady

PERTH Tue Aug 9, 2011 2:22pm IST

PERTH Aug 9 (Reuters) - Australia's thermal coal prices remained flat around the $120 per tonne level in the week to Monday as demand in the region failed to strengthen.

Thermal coal on the globalCOAL Newcastle index, a benchmark for Asia, for the week to date was $120.18 per tonne on Monday, down from $120.50 a week earlier.

Prices for Newcastle specification coal have remained in a range around the $120 per tonne level since shortly after an earthquake struck Japan, Australia's largest coal customer.

During that time, the Pacific coal market has seen a big drop in market liquidity, but some said Japanese demand may pick up toward the end of the year.

"Everyone is thinking that Japan will return to the market in the fourth quarter," one Australia-based trade source said.

In the meantime, sources said, they saw some suppliers stuck with extra inventory, but unwilling to drop prices below the levels seen in recent months.

On Tuesday, a 25,000-tonne parcel of Australian thermal coal for September delivery traded at $118 per tonne free-on-board, on the globalCOAL electronic trading platform. On Friday, a 25,000-tonne parcel was traded at $118.50 per tonne FOB.

In South Korea, Korea South East Power Co Ltd (KOSEP) said it was seeking a total of 835,000 tonnes of sub-bituminous or bituminous coal for delivery between late August and the end of the calendar year, via tenders.

Demand from China remained low after a summer during which the world's largest energy consumer had snapped up some Australian coal, with domestic prices down slightly to 831 yuan ($129.117) per tonne for 5,500 kcal/kg net-as-received coal.

China, the largest producer as well as consumer of coal, tends to turn to imports only when high domestic prices make imports more economically attractive.

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 = 6.436 Chinese Yuan) (Reporting by Rebekah Kebede; Editing by Sugita Katyal)

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