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Strong US high-vol demand boosts Atlantic metallurgical coal prices

Houston — Atlantic metallurgical coal spot markets saw strong demand for high-vol B lift values to catch up with earlier increases for high-vol A and US low-vol.

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Apart from high-vol B purchases for Northwest Europe and Brazil, more spot demand was seen in Europe for October and Q4 loadings, according to sources.

With domestic 2019 contracts accords at $105-$110/st Mine for high-vol B, limited spot supplies after a wave of overseas inquiries and coal movements on the rails piling up, transactable values climbed.

Some miners and traders were heard looking to offset delays railing into a port by offering through others. Due to demand for shorter laycans as well as savings on potential demurrage, prices in the loading window moved higher.

Sales of high-vol B were heard at large premiums to the Platts high-vol B index, for established coals, and a trader reported a 3% premium to index agreed for a trial.

Colombian high-vol and mid-vol met coal availability until end-October loadings was described as low due to internal demand for coke manufacturing, a source said. This may boost demand in regions such as the Eastern Mediterranean for US coking coals.

S&P Global Platts' assessment of US East Coast low-vol hard coking coal remained at $177/mt FOB, based on 58% CSR and 19% volatile matter material.

Platts US high-vol A index was stable at $187/mt FOB USEC, based on 32% volatile matter, 1.1% reflectance straight coal, with low ash and sulfur and CSR typically in the low 60s.

Platts US high-vol B assessment rose $3/mt to $159/mt FOB USEC, based on 34% VM unblended product.

A US met coal buyer reported not hearing any notable changes in the HV-B market recently.

The premium low-vol HCC net forward price fell back 10 cents to $207.40/mt CFR Rotterdam.

FUTURES RISE

In the coking coal futures market, 24,000 mt was traded during the Asian session on Singapore-based SGX, with 51,000 mt going through in after-hours trade.

The forward curve edged higher, with steeper price rises though 2019.

September settlements rose $2 to $192/mt, and October increased $3 to $200/mt, while Q4 rose $2.33 to $200/mt.

The Platts TSI Premium Hard Coking Coal reference price, used for settlement of SGX's coking coal futures, rose $1.70 to $190.70/mt FOB Australia.

--Hector Forster, hector.forster@spglobal.com

--Edited by Pankti Mehta, pankti.mehta1@spglobal.com