By Frik Els
April 4, 2017 - The market for coking coal exploded on Monday with the steelmaking raw material surging more than 15% to $175.70 (Australia free-on-board premium hard coking coal tracked by the Steel Index), an 11-week high.
The met coal price spike come on the back of major disruption to Australia’s coal exports. Australian cargoes destined for China may be disrupted for as long as five weeks as flooding associated with Cyclone Debbie has caused serious damage to some of the country’s key rail lines, particularly in the north-east.
The global met coal market is around 300 million tonnes per year with premium hard coking coal or PHCC constituting more than a third of the total market. More than half of PHCC seaborne coal come from Australian producers according to TSI data.
A reduction in allowable work days at the country's coal mines last year sparked a massive rally in coal prices, lifting met coal prices to multi-year high of $308.80 per tonne by November from $75 a tonne earlier in 2016.