April 12, 2013 / 10:16 AM / 5 years ago

Asia Coal-Australian prices inch up toward $90/tonne

PERTH, April 12 (Reuters) - Australian thermal coal benchmark prices recovered slightly to around $89 per tonne this week as Japanese utilities struck a deal with global miner Xstrata for their annual coal contract.

The contract, settled at $95 per tonne, represents the bulk of coal tonnage that Japanese utilities will buy from Australia for the year.

Australia’s Newcastle spot index rose to $88.90 per tonne on Wednesday, up from $86.71 per tonne a week earlier, data from online trading platform globalCOAL showed.

This week, cargoes for May delivery traded at $88.50 and $90 per tonne, and cargoes for July delivery traded at $88.60 and $88.35 per tonne.

The annual coal contract negotiations between Japanese utilities and Xstrata typically finish at the end of March, but were drawn out this year due to wide differences in price.

Coal prices in China, the world’s biggest producer and consumer of coal, fell slightly this week to 616 yuan ($99.41).

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