China coal short-term outlook 2017: onset of heating season weighs on market
In November, thermal coal and metallurgical coal prices fell 5% and 3% month-on-month, respectively. The largest driver of prices was the '2+26' policy getting into full swing as the heating season started in the middle of the month. But other factors were at play. Supply recovered slightly in November as safety-related restrictions were lifted once the 19th National Congress came to an end. That said, we won't see any further increase in domestic supply in December as the new coal capacity needs more time to enter the market. Coal miners and users also started signing long-term contracts for 2018 with similar prices to 2017 but with higher contracted volumes. We expect to see more volumes settled under term contracts in the near future. The contracts will take effect from 1 January 2018 and are being backed by the government in an effort to stabilise the overall market.