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Low-CV Indonesian Coal Prices Hold Steady



April 11, 2019 - Fob Indonesia prices of low-calorific value (CV) coal held steady today, with bids and offers broadly in line with levels heard earlier this week.

Details of firm transactions were slow to emerge, although trade was expected to pick up in the coming days following a large industry conference that took place in China earlier this week.

In the actively traded GAR 4,200 kcal/kg market, bids and offers held relatively steady. May-loading geared Supramax cargoes of this coal were mostly offered in a $37.60-38.50/t range, which was little changed from yesterday's levels. Bids for this type of coal and vessel size were relatively scarce today, although a buyer bid for a larger Panamax cargo at $38.50/t. Argus does not include this vessel size in the index for this type of coal. May-loading Panamax cargoes of this coal were offered at $39.50/t.

By comparison, a seller yesterday reported receiving a bid for a May-loading geared Supramax GAR 4,200 kcal/kg cargo at $38/t, while a late-April loading geared Supramax GAR 4,200 kcal/kg cargo traded late on 9 April at $38/t, which was unchanged compared with similar trades that were concluded earlier this week.

The ICI 4 derivatives market turned quieter today, after a total of 35,000t traded yesterday, brokered by Singapore-based Evolution. These trades took the total volume to have been cleared on the CME so far this week to 55,000t and the total volume to have traded since the contract launched last year to more than 3.2mn t.

In terms of bids and offers, April ICI 4 contracts were bid today at $37.50/t, up from $37.25/t yesterday and $37/t on 9 April. April contracts were offered today at $38.50/t. May contracts were bid today at $37.50/t and offered at $38.50/t, which were higher than a bid yesterday at $37.25/t and offer at $38.25/t. Third-quarter 2019 contracts were bid at $36.75/t today and offered at $37.85/t, while fourth-quarter 2019 contracts were bid at $36.85/t and offered at $38.05/t.

Elsewhere in the Indonesian physical market, a May-loading GAR 3,400 kcal/kg Supramax cargo was bid at $22/t against an offer at $22.50/t. Argus last assessed prices of this coal on 5 February at $21.61/t, which was little changed from the previous week. A lower quality GAR 3,200 kcal/kg Supramax for loading in early May traded today at $19.50/t, while a cross-month late-April/early-May loading Supramax cargo of GAR 3,800 kcal/kg product traded at $37.25/t.

The high-CV Australian market showed further signs of volatility today, with a May-loading 25,000t clip of NAR 6,000 kcal/kg coal trading on screen at $84/t, after a July-loading 25,000t clip traded yesterday at $90.50/t. Earlier this week, a 25,000t clip of this coal for loading in May traded on screen at $79/t, which was up from a May-loading 25,000t trade that was done at $70/t on 5 April. A 25,000t July trade was also concluded on 5 April at $82/t.

In the high-ash Australian market, a May-loading Capesize NAR 5,500 kcal/kg cargo traded on screen today at $59/t on a fob Newcastle basis, suggesting that this market is ticking higher. May-loading Capesize cargoes of this coal last week traded at $55/t and $57/t fob Newcastle, while a June-loading Capesize traded at $56/t fob Newcastle. A June-loading Capesize cargo of NAR 5,500 kcal/kg coal was offered yesterday at $60/t fob Newcastle and bid at $57/t.

In the Chinese domestic market, maintenance on the Daqin railway line helped to support domestic prices. Offers of NAR 5,500 kcal/kg coal were around 635-640 yuan/t ($94.50-95.30/t) fob north China port today, while bids from utilities were around Yn630/t. Both bids and offers indicated a rise from Argus' last assessment of Yn623.67/t ($92.60/t) fob Qinhuangdao made on 5 April.


In the China's futures market, the ZCE's May contract closed at Yn619/t today, up by Yn0.60/t from yesterday.