Thermal coal prices on the globalCOAL Newcastle weekly index, a benchmark for Asia, edged down $0.67 from the previous week to $66.46 a tonne on Wednesday on plentiful coal supply from Indonesia, amid a seasonally low demand period.
Indonesian bituminous coal with a heating value of 6,300 kcal/kg air-dried basis was offered at around $60 a tonne, FOB vessel, and around $55 for FOB barge basis, roughly unchanged from last week.
"Demand is still there, but not much," a regional trader said.
"China is scouting for bituminous coal with heating value above 6,100 kcal/kg as prices are already low now," said an Indonesian trader with a small mine in East Kalimantan in Borneo island, producing about 200,000 tonnes a month.
Some analysts said China's demand for imported coal could increase further in coming months, as a recent wave of coal mine closures triggered by a mine explosion could raise domestic coal prices, making imports more attractive.[ID:nSYD479754]
There were no physical trades for Newcastle coal registered at the globalCOAL platform this week.
* INDONESIAN SUB-BITUMINOUS
Indonesian sub-bituminous coal with a heating value of 5,300-5,500 kcal/kg (ADB) was offered at around $32 a tonne, FOB vessel for prompt shipment.
Indonesian producers were rushing to offer their sub-bituminous coal to ease stocks as production was piling up due to good weather and slow domestic demand.
"There has been no rain in Kalimantan for the past weeks. Normally, rains have started at this time of year. This (dry period) allows miners to boost production," another Indonesian trader said.
People are also selling off their coal to ease stock before the Eid Al-Fitr holiday to avoid the risk of fire from self-igniting coal, which often occurs, traders said. Many Indonesian offices will be closed from Sept. 18-23 for the holiday.
But plentiful sub-bituminous coal coal supply amid slow demand has put pressure on spot prices, with buyers able to buy the fuel at below $30 for coal of 5,500 kcal/kg, traders said.
"Buyers have plenty of choice now. I would sell at a bargain if there were any buyers that are interested in prompt shipment," the first Indonesian trader said.
A drop in prices has lured Chinese buyers to buy Indonesia's cargoes, the first Indonesian said, adding it has received a request to supply 60,000 tonnes a month of coal of 5,000 kcal/kg gross as-received to a Chinese buyer.
Meanwhile, Indian buyers had approached Indonesian suppliers for supply commitment to join a government tender.
GLOBALCOAL SWAP TRADES SINCE SEPT 7
PERIOD WEDNESDAY TUESDAY MONDAY
Q4'09 N/A $67 N/A