PERTH Aug 24 Australia's thermal coal prices, a
benchmark for Asia, were flat at just over $120 per tonne in the
week ending Tuesday, as weak demand kept trading thin.
Thermal coal on the globalCOAL Newcastle index for the week
to date was $121.19 per tonne on Tuesday, steady against $121.02
per tonne a week earlier.
Traders said activity was minimal, with top buyer Japan
still on the sidelines after the March tsunami that crippled
coal plants and infrastructure, cutting demand.
Top thermal coal exporter Xstrata is beginning
negotiations with Japanese utilities for their annual contract
beginning Oct. 1, sources said.
In their last negotiation, which began before the quake in
Japan, and was settled soon thereafter, Japanese utilities
agreed to a price just below $130 a tonne for the annual
contract beginning April 1, the primary supply contract for the
Since then, prices have drifted lower and trade sources said
they expected the negotiations to give direction to the
"It will help provide more pricing points for the Newcastle
market," one trade source said.
But sources also said that with coal demand sluggish in
Japan, utilities there are not likely to settle soon, preferring
to wait for a price drop.
"The sentiment is that they are not going to conclude
anytime soon," one Sydney-based source said.
Korea South East Power Co Ltd (KOSEP) bought 900,000 tonnes
of coal of Indonesian origin with minimum specifications of
4,600 kcal/kg for September and December delivery for $105-$110
free-on-board (FOB) basis via tender. KOSEP bought 185,000 more
tonnes than it was seeking through its tender.
But the company passed up on offers for another tender to
buy high-calorific coal due to high prices, company source said
Korea Western Power Co Ltd (WP) also put out a tender for a
total 495,000 tonnes of sub-bituminous or bituminous coal for
shipment between September and December.
Chinese buyers, whose buying patterns are heavily dependent
on Chinese domestic prices, have remained largely on the
sidelines over the past month after signing a raft of deals in
the second quarter which helped push July import numbers to a
In the week ending Aug. 24, thermal coal prices in the
world's largest coal consumer and producer dropped for an eighth
week to 826 yuan ($129.123), but some said a rebound might be in
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RECURRING MARKET/DATA REPORTS
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China monthly coal import/export....
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TRADES AND TENDERS
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API4 coal paper prices, McCloskeys............<0#MCC-C-API4>
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($1 = 6.397 Chinese Yuan)
(Editing by Ramthan Hussain)