PERTH – Hard Australian Premium Coking Coal has climbed by USD 28.5 per tonne to USD 131.5 per tonne FOB Australia on 20 January 2021, still lagging behind by about USD 20 per tonne as compared to US East Coast low vol coking coal at USD 152.10 FOB which traditionally used to be sold at a discount of USD 10-20 per tonne.
The market dynamics have changed when China-Australia trade war escalated and China imposed informal restrictions on Australian coal since April after Australia called for an independent investigation into the origin of Covid-19.
But the impact on Australian coking coal prices became visible in mid October, when news emanated that more than 60 vessels carrying Australian thermal & coking coal were stranded off Chinese shores, resulting in distressed cargoes and subsequent dive in Australian coking coal prices from about USD 130 FOB to USD 100 in about 30 days.
Domestic coking coal prices have surged in China due to demand push as well as reduced supplies in winter. As a result, Chinese buyers started paying premium for US coking coal supplies disturbing age old market dynamics.
Some Chinese experts believe that China will continue to regulate coal imports this year as it is focusing on curbing emissions.