China Coal-Prices climb again, Indonesian imports boosted
* Qinhuangdao prices rise to top 815 yuan, port stocks drop
* Higher prices help clinch import deals, strong Indonesian prices
* Inflation concerns cloud bullish sentiment
By Fayen Wong
SHANGHAI, April 26 (Reuters) - Power demand from factories and increased construction activity pushed up China's thermal coal prices for the fourth straight week, with growing warnings of a summer fuel shortage boosting daily prices to a five-month high of 815 yuan ($124.85).
Average weekly prices of coal with a heating value of 5,500 kcal/kg NAR climbed to 795-800 yuan a tonne on April 25, while 6,000 kcal/kg coal steadied at 845 yuan, according to industry data website SXCOAL (www.sxcoal.com).
But in a sign of robust domestic demand, the daily price of 5,500 kcal/kg coal has already risen to 815 yuan.
"Power consumption is rising faster than expected, so utilities are burning more coal and replenishing more stocks," said a producer source in Hangzhou.
"But output from mines are growing slower than demand. There is a lag time for supply to respond to demand because of bottlenecks at the railways, so I do believe we will see a fuel supply shortage this year."
The head of the National Energy Administration has warned this week that China must be prepared to cope with power shortfalls during the high energy-consuming summer month as other agencies cautioned about a fuel supply shortage. [ID:nL3E7FP2VT]
Output growth is also slowed by consolidation efforts in other major coal-producing provinces such as Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi as the local governments proceed to close off small and unsafe mines through mergers.
Stocks at top coal port Qinhuangdao fell for the 8th week by 5.5 percent to 5.63 million tonnes.
MORE IMPORT DEALS
Fast-rising domestic prices have also helped overseas traders clinch more deals over the past week.
Demand for Indonesian sub-bituminous coal remains strong and deals for 5,500 kcal/kg NAR coal were said to have been sold at around $112 CFR, industry sources said. Including VAT taxes, such Indonesian imports would hover at $131 a tonne on a landed basis, cheaper than domestic supplies which is standing at a minimum of $133.40.
Excluding freight, such rates indicates an FOB price of around $102 a tonne, which represents a premium of around $1 a tonne to McCloskey's sub-bituminous index on Friday, after making changes to heating value.
Still, some Chinese buyers remain cautious on the outlook of the domestic market, saying that price gains in the coming weeks may slow and be rangebound if utilities have secured a sizeable amount of summer stocks.
"Possible government controls are still weighing high on sentiment. Inflation is still a very big issue within China and the general sentiment is that Beijing wouldn't tolerate excessive increase in coal prices," said a Beijing trader.
Weekly Qinhuangdao prices for (Yuan) PORT STOCKS
>6,000 kcal/kg >5,500 Kcal/KG (Mln Tonnes) WEEK TO
835-845 790-800 5.626 Apr 25
835-845 785-795 5.957 Apr 18
835-845 780-790 6.399 Apr 11
825-835 770-780 6.877 Apr 04
820-830 770-780 7.412 Mar 29
820-830 765-775 7.735 Mar 21
825-835 770-780 7.835 Mar 14
820-830 765-775 8.398 Mar 07
825-835 770-780 8.472 Mar 02
825-835 770-780 7.533 Feb 21
825-835 775-785 7.284 Feb 14
825-835 775-785 7.426 Feb 07
825-835 775-785 6.859 Jan 31
825-835 775-785 7.071 Jan 24
835-845 780-790 7.210 Jan 17
835-845 780-790 6.954 Jan 10
835-845 780-790 7.049 Jan 04
835-845 780-790 7.104 Dec 30
835-845 780-790 7.590 Dec 24
840-850 790-800 7.006 Dec 20
845-855 795-805 6.711 Dec 13
845-855 795-805 6.663 Dec 06
860-870 805-815 5.789 Nov 29
850-860 795-805 6.170 Nov 22
840-850 790-800 6.197 Nov 15
840-850 790-800 6.387 Nov 08
825-835 765-775 6.805 Nov 01 ($1 = 6.526 Chinese yuan) (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
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