Coking coal prices go gangbusters — up almost 150%

Prices of coking coal, the steel-making kind, keep soaring mainly due to slowing supply growth from China.

Far seems to be the multi-year lows struck in February, as the commodity has surged almost 150% since then, adding Tuesday a whooping $14.80 per tonne, according to The Steel Index.

Metallurgical coal, which is now trading at a record $195.70 a tonne, has become the best performing commodity of 2016.

 

The rally has been triggered in part by Beijing’s decision to limit coal mines operating days to 276 or fewer a year. In addition, recent heavy rains in the key mining province of Shanxi, have significantly reduced the number of available roads and damaged other transportation infrastructure, curbing local supplies.

Weather conditions in China’s coal producing regions have given Australian suppliers of coking coal, particularly those in Queensland's Bowen Basin, a much-needed boost.

However, the incredible price rally may also carry some bad news, especially for Anglo American (LON:AAL), which has now been forced to revaluate the asking price for the two coking mines it has for sale in Australia, the Australian Financial Review reports.

Such sale is expected to yield more than US$1 billion, even with Anglo taking a $1.2 billion charge against Grosvenor and Moranbah at its July results, and bidders —including the BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance — are said to be now waiting to see where coking coal prices go next.