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Colombia's Carbocoque sees Americas, Turkey boosting met coke contract demand

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Colombia's Carbocoque sees Americas, Turkey boosting met coke contract demand

London — Leading Colombian metallurgical coke producer Carbocoque sees increasing coke demand through 2018 in Brazil and Mexico, as well as in Turkey, raising export volumes, according to its CEO.

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Colombia has increased volumes and qualities in coke, and ranks as the third biggest global coke exporter, behind China and Poland, CEO Juan Manuel Sanchez Vergara said in an interview published Thursday by conference producer Smithers ahead of its Eurocoke event in April. Carbocoque is a subsidiary of coal trader and mining group AMCI.

Buyers and trading sources have seen Chinese met coke flows to the Atlantic fall dramatically, as high and volatile prices in Chinese markets, along with lead times and shipping rates, limited interest.

Carbocoque said it expected coke buyers will begin using long-term agreements instead of spot contracts in order to secure material they need.

"This potential shift will call for steel industry suppliers to assure competitive and reliable sources of supply," Sanchez said.

To price cargoes further out than a month or two, spot price assessment indexes were being used more frequently compared with fixed price negotiations, according to trade sources.

S&P Global Platts FOB China indexes, particularly for 66/65 CSR grade, were being referenced widely for Colombian export and European import trade, sources said.

Platts benchmark 66/65 CSR blast furnace coke export price assessment, which averaged $366.17/mt FOB in December, was at $345/mt on Thursday. Prices for the Chinese grade peaked in November at over $390/mt FOB, with FOB trade typically reported into several Asian markets.

European demand for met coke has been steady, while demand has remained strong for high quality coke such as 65 CSR grade, and Central and Eastern European produces are seeking to import more coking coal to better match customer specifications.

"We can expect a shortage in high-quality supply during the coming years as a result of the mines that were closed during the last crisis," Sanchez said.

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"Because of this, consumers will need to adopt new technologies that will allow them to use lower quality coals."

The largest Colombian coke and coking coal producers and traders include Milpa, Carbones Andinos, Coquecol, and international trading groups Trafigura and Bulk Trading.

The US was said to be fielding more import coke inquiries, especially in foundry grades. Higher demand from blast furnaces and limited spare coke capacity with several shutdowns of coke batteries earlier this decade, has tightened supply.

European contract coke prices were said by trading sources to have increased for first-quarter deliveries. Prices rose on account of higher coking coal prices and costs in the fourth quarter, and higher logistics costs.

--Hector Forster,

--Edited by Dan Lalor,