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Coking coal spot prices jump by 14pct last week - Report
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Thursday, 27 Jan 2011

Bloomberg reported that Australian coking coal jumped 14% last week as buyers continued to assess the effect on supplies of flooding in the state of Queensland. Queensland, producer of about half of global seaborne supply of coking coal for steelmaking, suffered its worst floods in 50 years this month.

Shipments from the port of Hay Point, the biggest export harbor for the material, dropped 22% last month from November as floodwaters shut mines and damaged rail lines.

Mr Daniel Brebner, an analyst at Deutsche Bank AG in London, said that "The market's still trying to understand what the impact will be in terms of volumes removed. We have seen the worst of the flooding, and that’s behind us and really it comes down to, now, how quickly production can get back on stream."

According to Petersfield, England based market researcher IHS McCloskey, Australian hard prime coking coal sold for USD 320 a tonne on average last week, up from USD 280 the week before. That's the highest level for the data going back to the week ended November 5th 2010.

Mr Brebner said that "Prices may rise over the course of the next month, and USD 350 to USD 400 a tonne is within the realm of possibility."

BHP Billiton Limited, an equal partner in the world's biggest exporter of coking coal, on January 20th 2011 predicted that disruption at its Australian operations until the end of June 2011. Thermal coal from Richards Bay, South Africa, site of the continent's biggest export facility for the fuel, fell 6.1% to an average USD 120.83 a tonne. Thermal coal is burned to generate power. Shipments from the port climbed 3.8% in 2010 to 63.43 million tonnes, the first annual increase in five years.

Benchmark European coal derivatives headed for a third consecutive lower close. Coal for delivery to Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Antwerp with settlement next year fell 35 cents or 0.3% to USD 115 a tonne in London. The data are drawn from information supplied by ICAP Plc, GFI Group Inc, Spectron Group Limited, Tullett Prebon Plc, Credit Suisse Group AG, McCloskey, Bloomberg and Tradition Financial Services.

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