Thermal continues fall, but high floor to stay

THERMAL coal prices out of Newcastle Port have dropped for the sixth consecutive week in the face of easing demand, but analysts say ongoing infrastructure constraints in Australia and rising demand in Asia will keep a high floor on prices.
Thermal continues fall, but high floor to stay Thermal continues fall, but high floor to stay Thermal continues fall, but high floor to stay Thermal continues fall, but high floor to stay Thermal continues fall, but high floor to stay

 

Angie Tomlinson

ANZ analysts said last week that coal prices would further ease as the supply issues faced over the past couple of months abate.

The analysts pointed to easing supply issues in Queensland, with companies lifting force majeure, and China managing to export some coal in January and February despite snowstorms and huge domestic demand.

The change in season is also affecting demand with need for heating in northern Asia dropping.

For the week ended March 28, the Newcastle thermal spot price dropped 3.9% to $119.50 per tonne.

ANZ analysts said Newcastle spot prices may perform relatively better in the coming weeks as port congestion rises, as well as in light of a recent train derailment limiting ship loading volumes over the coming month.

Yesterday there were 42 vessels waiting off Newcastle Port.

“Slowing exports out of Indonesia and Vietnam may be the surprise upside factor, with Indo supply impacted by monsoonal weather and congested infrastructure and Vietnam output being increasingly diverted to stronger domestic demand," ANZ analysts said last week.

In the northern hemisphere, small Canadian producers are pulling in huge price increases, with ANZ quoting unofficial reports suggesting some producers had won a 130% interim price increase.

Hard coking coal will be sold at $US225/t and PCI coal will get $US190/t, starting April 1 with the Japanese financial year.

“The provisional price settlements are agreed by smaller producers when there is no benchmark agreed by bigger producers and steelmakers. [The price] will be changed to the benchmark price once one is agreed," ANZ said.

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