After the prolonged delays for Q4 2016 contracts, the Q1 2017 negotiations were over in a flash. The extreme volatility and uncertainty, as well as falling spot prices, offered encouragement for both sides to agree terms early this time around. The US$285/t HCC price was the highest since Q4 2011, and was an Australian dollar record AUD385/t. Spot price falls accelerated after the settlement, and were about US$100/t lower by 12th January, as improved supply and weaker northern hemisphere demand undermined the price gains of Q4. The large differential between contract and spot prices has reignited debate about the validity of quarterly contracts, and their long term survival. Spot prices should maintain a discount through 2017 as prices continue to trend down, adding fuel to the discussion.
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Insight | Jan 2017
Metallurgical coal quarterly price roundup Q1 2017: Early settlement protects sellers from falling spot prices
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