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Metallurgical Coal: Market tightens as contract talks progress

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Report summary

Metallurgical coal spot prices have mounted a modest recovery since mid February and with Q2 contract talks ongoing the rise has provided a welcome boost to suppliers' ammunition for the negotiations. Weather related supply disruption in both China and Australia is an underlying cause. And combined with a stronger than usual restocking cycle low freight rates and an appreciating Aussie dollar FOB spot prices in Asia have risen above US$80/t in early March at or close to Q1 2016 contract prices. A roll over in quarterly prices US$81/t for LV HCC is now the most likely outcome although a modest rise is also a distinct possibility particularly if negotiations drag on.

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