Asia Coal-Prices ease to near $63 on demand concerns

Kalimantan Coal
JAKARTA, May 7 (Reuters) – Australian thermal coal prices, a benchmark for Asia, edged lower to around $63 a tonne on concerns over demand, after hitting a two-week high of $64 earlier in the week.
Thermal coal prices on the globalCOAL Newcastle weekly index were at $63.17 a tonne late on Wednesday, up from $62.27 a tonne a week ago.
“It’s a temporary fluctuation,” a regional trader said.
“But the trend is still sluggish as coal stocks are quite healthy and Indian demand is going to subside in May,” the trader said.
Indian buyers tend to stock up on coal before the start of the monsoon in India in June.
There were no physical trades registered on globalCOAL.
Indonesian bituminous coal of 6,300 kcal/kg air-dried basis was offered at around $60 a tonne, FOB mother vessel from Sumatra, while some traders offered coal of the same quality at between $65-$66 a tonne, FOB mother vessel from Kalimantan.
Indian demand for Indonesian coal eased as buyers switched to South African coal, while Chinese buyers who had been active in the past weeks slowed purchasing, an Indonesian producer said “We still see a lot of inquiries from Chinese buyers. But they stop short on asking prices,” the producer said.
Buyers were seeking Indonesian coal of 6,300 kcal/kg at $51-$55, FOB mother vessel, the producer said.
Indonesian sub-bituminous coal of 5,300 kcal/kg was offered at around $35-$37 a tonne, FOB mother vessel from Kalimantan.
Demand from industrial sectors such as textiles has eased but steady demand from power plants helped to support prices.
PT Pembangkitan Jawa-Bali, a unit of state-electricity firm Perusahaan Listrik Negara, is in the process of short-listing bidders in a tender seeking 60,000 tonnes of 4,900 kcal/kg as-received coal a month for its Paiton power plant.
The firm is expected to award the contract in coming weeks.
Q3’09 N/A $65.25 N/A ($1=10350 Rupiah) (Reporting by Fitri Wulandari, editing by Sara Webb)

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