Asia Coal-Australian prices inch up as China buyers emerge
* Coal stocks fall 0.3 pct at Bohai Sea ports on week
* China domestic prices hold steady after 4 weeks of decline
* Indonesian output curtailed by long rainy season -traders
By Fayen Wong
SHANGHAI, May 10 (Reuters) - Australian thermal coal benchmark prices inched up slightly this week as enquiries from top importer China increased following a holiday lull, while tight supplies from largest seller Indonesia also helped support prices.
A fall in coal inventories at major Chinese ports, along with stabilising domestic prices, also helped sentiment.
"We're seeing more enquiries from Chinese buyers although their bid prices are still very low," said a Singapore-based trader, adding that higher offer prices from sellers in Indonesia had also supported the market.
Traders said Indonesian sellers have raised prices because many mid-sized miners are almost sold out for May, June and July because an extended rainy season has hit production.
Australia's Newcastle spot index rose to $87.57 per tonne on Thursday, up from $87.29 per tonne a week ago, data from online trading platform globalCOAL showed.
Domestic coal prices in China stood at 613 yuan ($99.99), unchanged from last week, pausing after 4 straight weeks of decline. Chinese prices have fallen for 14 out of 16 weeks since the start of the year, as slower economic growth dents power consumption from major industrial users.
Chinese coal prices tend to climb from May through June due to peak summer consumption, but traders are less sanguine about an upward lift in prices this year.
"There is plentiful supply at home and abroad. The flood of imports will continue to pressure local prices," said a Shanghai-based trader.
Coal stocks at China's four major Bohai Sea ports totalled 13.9 million tonnes on Sunday, down 54,000 tonnes or 0.3 percent from the previous week, according to port data.
($1 = 6.1309 Chinese yuan) (Editing by Tom Hogue)
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