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Indonesia coal market makes slow start to the week

Source: SteelGuru, April 16, 2019

Indonesian thermal coal prices were little changed today in a thinly traded market, but demand continued to emerge from China with a utility announcing a new tender to buy imported coal.

State-controlled utility Yudean issued a tender seeking 65,000t cargoes of Indonesian coal with a calorific value (CV) of NAR 4,500-5,500 kcal/kg for 1-15 May delivery, as well as 50,000-65,000t cargoes of Indonesian coal with the same CV for delivery during 1-20 May. The utility, based in Guangdong in south China, did not indicate the total amount it intends to buy, revealing only the cargo sizes it will accept.

Details of spot trades in the GAR 4,200 kcal/kg (NAR 3,800 kcal/kg) market were slow to emerge today. But bids and offers for this type of coal were little changed compared with last week. May loading geared supramax GAR 4,200 kcal/kg cargoes were offered at around $38-39/t and bid at around $36-36.50/t today. This is in line with confirmed deals last week, when three late-April/early-June loading geared supramaxes were concluded at $37.50-37.80/t. Argus last assessed fob GAR 4,200 kcal/kg prices on 12 April at $37.72/t, up by 43¢/t from a week earlier.

Trade in the ICI 4 derivatives market was also muted today. April contracts were offered at $38.50/t and bid at $37.35-37.50/t with Singapore-based brokers, although there were few details of firm transactions. May contracts were bid at $37.80/t, with no matching offers seen. A total of 55,000t of ICI 4 derivatives contracts traded last week, taking the total volume cleared on CME to over 3.2mn t since the contract was launched in February last year.

Elsewhere in the Indonesian coal market, interest in GAR 5,000 kcal/kg (NAR 4,600 kcal/kg) coal was largely unchanged today, with details of trades involving this type of coal relatively scarce. A May loading Panamax cargo of GAR 5,000 kcal/kg coal was offered at around $54/t, with buying interest at about $53-53.50/t, market participants said. By comparison, a late-April loading Panamax cargo of slightly higher-quality GAR 5,100 kcal/kg coal traded at $54/t last week, with a similar cross-month trade for loading in late April/early May changing hands at the slightly higher price of $54.20/t.

In the Australian thermal coal market, buyers who were confident they could get their coal through Chinese customs were bidding at $59/t fob Newcastle for a May loading Capesize cargo of NAR 5,500 kcal/kg coal, while others bid at $57/t fob Newcastle.

Bids and offers in the Indian market were lower, with bids heard at $54-55/t fob Newcastle for May Capesizes and offers at $58/t fob Newcastle. But South African coal is now more competitive than Australian coal on a price basis in that market.

The bids from Chinese buyers were steady to firmer compared with confirmed bids last week. The price for high-ash coal was assessed most recently on 12 April at $58.60/t fob Newcastle, up by $2.41/t, as producers became more confident they could place their coal with Chinese traders.

In the high-CV market, trading remained active on screen for smaller volumes of coal. A 25,000t June-loading clip of NAR 6,000 kcal/kg coal traded twice at $89/t fob Newcastle today, and a July cargo of the same volume traded at $91/t fob Newcastle. The July trade was up from a deal done at $90.50/t fob Newcastle most recently last week.

In the China domestic market, prices of domestic NAR 5,500 kcal/kg coal were steady from last weekend. Offers of the coal were at 638-640 yuan/t fob northern China ports. Bids for the coal were around Yn630-635/t.

In China's futures market, the May contract on the ZCE closed at Yn619.2/t today, down by Yn3.8 from 12 April.

News Source: Argus Media