Contract speculation

RECENT spot coking coal prices are around $US129.50 ($A145.22) per tonne, while a survey of seven analysts is predicting hard coking coal contracts to settle at around $150/t for the Japanese financial year starting in April.

Blair Price

The HCC benchmark of $143/t for the current quarter is the lowest since BHP Billiton helped usher in quarterly pricing for the commodity in 2010 but some analysts see higher prices ahead.

Using the median of seven analyst estimates, Bloomberg reported that Asian buyers were expected to pay $150/t for June quarter HCC contracts with the survey forecasts ranging from $140/t to $150/t.

The Steel Index reportedly placed HCC spot prices at $129.50/t on Monday.

According to The Australian, Platts reported that Queensland spot coking coal prices hit a six-year low of $127/t last week.

The Shanghai-based Freight Investor Services coking coal spot price was worse, posting a low of $124.50/t on Friday.

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