As of November 10, China’s national composite coke price ceased the continuing strengthening since late July and ebbed from Yuan 4,090.5/tonne ($640.1/t) on November 1 -the highest in Mysteel’s assessment record – to Yuan 3,807/t, both including the VAT, mainly due to the unified bargaining from the steelmakers in the country’s core steelmaking hubs including North, Northeast and East China with both demand and coking coal price softening.
Over July 29-November 1, the price had soared Yuan 1,430/t, and even the price as of November 10 was still a rather high level in Mysteel’s record despite the recent declines.
So far in November, steel producers in these core production bases have contacted their coke suppliers three times asking for price cuts by Yuan 600/t in total, citing the remaining heavy burden of raw materials costs with coke in particular while their ever-thinning finished steel margins. Over the same period, the country’s coking coal prices softened too due to the easing supply tightness.
Besides, Chinese steel mills’ coke orders and actual deliveries to their works have slowed down due to the series of ongoing curtailing measures including power rationing or winter restriction on iron and steelmaking, Mysteel Global noted.
By November 4, coke stocks at China’s 247 blast-furnace steel plants under Mysteel’s weekly survey added up to 7.2 million tonnes, or a low since early September, while the consumption days at 15.8 days on average was a high since early April 2020 due to their lower daily consumption
Mysteel’s survey on the blast furnace capacity utilisation rate among these 247 mills serves as strong evidence on lower output, as the rate was at 76.4% as of November 4, or the lowest since early October 2019.
China’s coke suppliers, under such circumstances, have had to give in on prices, as coke stocks at the country’s 230 independent coking plants rose to the highest since early April with 1.1 million tonnes by November 4, despite that their coke production was at the lowest since Mysteel started the survey on December 28 2017.
Source: Sean Xie and Hongmei Li