Asia Coal-Prices edges up to $64 on China, India demand

Kalimantan Coal
JAKARTA, May 21 (Reuters) – Australian thermal coal prices, a benchmark for Asia, edged up to $64 a tonne this week, supported by steady demand from China and India.
Thermal coal prices on the globalCOAL Newcastle index rose $0.73 to $64.19 a tonne, from $63.46 a tonne in the previous week.
“There’s still some strong demand from China while India’s demand has been stable. If the two stop buying, prices will drop,” a regional trader, said.
The Customs data also showed that China’s coal imports soared to a record high of 9.16 million tonnes in April, up 3.4 million from a month earlier and far above market expectations. [ID:nPEK351294]
The failure of China’s coal miners to strike an annual price deal with the country’s five big power firms this year and the closure of smaller mines have opened the door to imports, although the country is the world’s top coal exporters.
China’s appetite for overseas coal had helped lift Asian coal prices from a near 6-month low of $58 a tonne in February to hover above $60 the past two months.
“But bullish is still a long way to go. Unless the global economy is improving, everybody will still be apprehensive,” the trader said.
There were no physical trades registered on globalCOAL for this week.
Chinese buyers were still scouting for coal, offering to buy Indonesian bituminous coal of 6,300 kcal/kg at between $55-58 a tonne air-dried basis, FOB mother vessel, but sellers wanted it at around $60 a tonne, traders said.
“We still see inquiries from China but they want much lower prices,” an Indonesian trader said.
Parcels of Indonesian bituminous coal of 6,300 kcal/kg ADB were sold to China at $62 a tonne, FOB mother vessel, but there were no details of buyers and volume, the regional trader said.
Cargoes from Indonesia to India were still flowing, although the monsoon was approaching at the end of the month, but Indian buyers were more selective than in the past.
“Supply is plenty in the market — that gives Indian buyers more choice of those whose cargoes are better or have less moisture and sulphur content,” the regional trader said.
“Many people want to offer their coal but India prefers to buy from South Africa because the price is so low,” he said. (Reporting by Fitri Wulandari; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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