MARKETS

Debbie forces Chinese to look to US coal

US COAL producer Corsa Coal Corp has been overwhelmed with inquiries for cargoes over the past few days from customers in Asia after Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie disrupted rail supply routes and forced BHP Billiton to declare force majeure on delivery.

Lou Caruana
Debbie forces Chinese to look to US coal

Australia is the world’s leading supplier of premium low volatility coking coal, principally from Queensland’s Bowen Basin, which was hit by the cyclone last week. However, the disruption to supply has caused Chinese buyers to scour other markets including the US to source coking coal for their steel mills.   

Corsa Coal CEO George Dethlefsen told Reuters he had been overwhelmed with inquiries for cargoes over the past week from Chinese customers.

"Right now we, like everyone else, are trying to figure out what tonnes are available and what we can produce to fulfill potential new orders,” he said.

Thomson Reuters Eikon data shows China has already imported more than 500,000 tonnes of US coking coal in 2017, with 427,000t shipped in just in February.

Spot coking coal prices on the Dalian Commodity Exchange, closed on Monday and Tuesday for a public holiday, jumped more than 7% early on Wednesday to US$197.80 per tonne. Yesterday the key benchmark price leapt by almost a third to $US241/tonne.

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