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Asian spot metallurgical coal volumes surge by a third in H1 2012

By Sophie Byron in London and Julien Hall in Singapore

July 26, 2013 - Platts-observed volumes of seaborne metallurgical coal traded on the spot market in Asia-Pacific rose 33.97% to 25.30 million mt in the first half of 2013 versus the second half of 2012, Platts data showed.

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This accounts for around 28.5% of the total seaborne Asian market, estimated for H1 2013 at 88.5 million mt, a number calculated as an average of analyst reports’ import estimates for Asia, including from Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and HSBC.

Over the first half of the year, January saw the highest total volume of premium hard coking coal (PHCC), hard coking coal (HCC) and PCI coal traded at 5.30 million mt, with the lowest in March at 2.03 million mt, and giving an average monthly spot volumes seen by Platts at 3.63 million mt over H1 2013 (excluding semi-soft and semi-hard coking coal).

Spot trading volumes were impacted in February by the extended Lunar New Year celebrations in China, and in March when risk-averse buyers pulled back from the market following substantial price falls.

Analysis continues below...

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H1 2013 seaborne spot volume traded

Australia's on-going dominance as a supplier of metallurgical coal was unchallenged over 2013 with 71.88% of Asian seaborne PHCC, HCC and PCI spot trades heard concluded over H1 2013 coming from the country. On a volume basis this was an increase of 3.91 million mt to 15.6 million mt, or 33.39% when compared to the second half of 2012, according to Platts data.

On the demand side China took 80.14% of the Asian PHCC, HCC and PCI seaborne spot cargoes reported by Platts on a volume basis, illustrating the primary trade flow in the coking coal market.

The latest import data from China's General Administration of customs showed China imported 30.737 million mt of seaborne coking coal over H1 2013, a number calculated after excluding imports from landlocked Mongolia.

Platts-observed spot transactions into China in H1 2013 amounted to 66.09% of total Chinese seaborne imports over the period.

H1 2013 Asian spot seaborne volume per origin

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