Prompt September-loading geared Supramax GAR 4,200 kcal/kg cargoes were bid today at $32/t and offered at $32.50/t. September now falls outside the current 60-day October and November assessment window for inclusion in the Argus index. But the latest bid-offer range is higher than late last week, when September-loading shipments changed hands at $31.40-31.80/t and October-loading GAR 4,200 kcal/kg Supramax cargoes traded in a range of $31-31.50/t.
Argus last assessed this market on 6 September at $31.53/t for October cargoes, up by 55¢/t from the previous week. But October activity appeared limited today.
The ICI 4 derivatives market got off to a slow start after a total of 210,000t was cleared on the CME last week. October ICI 4 futures were bid at $32.50/t and offered at $33.25-33.40/t with different Singapore-based brokers. By comparison, the last Argus settlement price for October ICI 4 futures was at $32.60/t on 6 September, up by 85¢/t from the previous day.
China's coal imports rose for a fifth straight month in August to 32.95mn t, according to recently released customs data. That brought year-to-date imports to 220.28mn t during January-August, up by 8.1pc on the year.
This leaves only 60.95mn t in the 2019 import quota, raising sellers' concerns, given that the Beijing government has said it aims to limit this year's import volumes to 2018 levels. This is especially expected to dampen activity in the Australian high-ash market, which remained relatively quiet today.
In China's domestic market, physical prices of NAR 5,500 kcal/kg coal were little changed from last week. Bids were around 580 yuan/t ($81.40/t) fob north China ports today, while offers were around Yn585/t. This is little changed from Argus' last assessment of Yn582.42/t ($81.27/t) fob Qinhuangdao on 6 September.
The November futures contract on China's ZCE closed at Yn592/t today, down by Yn1.60/t from 6 September.