Nov 3 Australia's thermal coal prices continued
to drop with spot purchases from major buyers Japan, South Korea
and Taiwan at a minimum and Chinese utilities on the sidelines
as they waited for clearer indications of demand.
Thermal coal on the global COAL Newcastle index for the week
to date closed at $117.13 per tonne on Wednesday, down from
$117.44 per tonne a week earlier.
On Wednesday, a 25,000 tonne parcel for December delivery
traded at $116.25 per tonne on the globalCOAL screen and a
75,000 parcel for January traded at $116.50 per tonne.
"Your Japan, South Korea, Taiwan buyers are going quietly
through their long-term contracts so they are not a big
player... and China is slowing down, so it's a double negative,"
one Singapore-based trade source said.
The slump in Chinese buying will impact not only Newcastle
prices, but Indonesian prices, the source said. Indonesian sub
bituminous coal was seen with prices around $85 per tonne for
4,900 kcal/kg NAR coal.
"I think we are at a point were there is just no appetite,"
an Australia-based trade source said, adding that some high
caloric value Indonesian coal had traded at a steep discount for
very prompt delivery and offers of Australian coal at a discount
received limited interest.
The globalCOAL price index for Australia has fallen from
nearly $130 per tonne in March as demand from Australia's
biggest buyer, Japan, has waned as a result of damage to
coal-fired facilities and infrastructure during the tsunami
earlier this year.
But prices are still more than 20 percent higher than prices
a year ago when prices were below $100 per tonne.
Australian thermal coal shipments from Newcastle port
dropped nearly 24 percent in the week ending Oct. 31 to 1.87
million tonnes, down from 2.45 million tonnes the prior week due
to a combination of changes in scheduling, equipment problems,
and a planned rail outage.
In China, demand was very weak, with utilities mostly having
a wait-and-see attitude due to uncertainty about December demand
and ports well-stocked with reports of large stockpiles.
China's domestic coal prices were flat at 853 yuan
($134.176) per tonne during the last week, according to the
weekly Bohai-Rim Bay thermal coal price index published
One Shanxi-based major buyer said it received a lot of
offers and some prices were attractive compared to domestic
China, the world's biggest producer and consumer of coal,
generally turns to imports when domestic prices rise above the
cost of procuring supplies from elsewhere and lower freight
rates and declining prices in Australia could make imports
($1 = 6.357 Chinese Yuan)
(Additional reporting by Fayen Wong in Shanghai; Editing by