US coking coal export prices are showing a gradual upside movement over the last one month, on availability concerns as well as ongoing domestic negotiations.
Mine closures within the United States - coupled with an increasing demand in Europe - have led to tighter availability of US coking coal for supplies into the EU market.
Demand prospects for US coking coal in Europe seem considerably positive going forward into the fourth quarter, with prices for HRC and other steel products recovering steadily at this point in time.
Besides, the gradual upside momentum in US coking coal pricing is buoyed by a strong price rally lately being observed in the Asia-Pacific spot market -- although long-term sustainability of such momentum is rather questionable.
Furthermore, expectations are rife that the seaborne coking coal market would soon see demand coming from India and Northeast Asian contract buyers, limiting availability for spot sales even further and driving up prices.
The latest FOB US East Coast price of low-volatile hard coking coal is assessed at $109.00/t, based on 58% coke strength after reaction (CSR), 8% ash, 0.8% sulfur and 19% volatile matter material.
For Indian buyers, the above price amounts to $133.00/t on CNF India basis, after considering a USEC-India dry bulk freight rate of $24.00/t for delivery from the Port of Hampton Roads by Panamax vessel class.
The US high-volatile type A (HVA) coking coal price is assessed at around $114.00/t FOB USEC, based on 7% ash, 0.85% sulfur and 32% volatile matter.
The US high-volatile type B (HVB) coking coal price is assessed at around $102.00/t FOB USEC, based on 8% ash, 0.95% sulfur and 34% volatile matter.
By Aditya Sinha