China's '2+26' policy and other measures to curb pollution weighed heavily on thermal coal prices in October, but they weren't the only factors. Long-term contracts for 2018, the government's changing attitude towards imports and its intervention in the market also pushed prices down. And even though domestic output was curtailed while the 19th National Party Congress took place in Beijing, coal prices fell slightly – starting the month at RMB719/t before gradually sliding down to RMB 706/t by the end of October. Prices for most metallurgical coals also started to slide in October, as the pollution-control policies quelled demand from downstream mills and coke plants. However, the stricter environmental requirements are working in favour of low-sulphur and low-ash premium coking coal – for which demand remains strong and prices are holding up.