Coking coal prices surged in the U.S. as Australian flooding presents export opportunities for producers, Energy Publishing Inc. said.
Spot prices for low-volatility coking coal increased $26.25, or 9.4 percent, to $306.25 a ton in the week ended today, the Knoxville, Tennessee-based data provider said. High-volatility coal rose $41.42, or 18 percent, to $266.42.
“U.S. producers wait for Australian spot deals to develop before committing coal to the market,” Energy Publishing said. “That’s not difficult because port and transportation issues prevent more than a smattering of U.S. spot coal being exported in any case before the end of the first quarter or very early in the second quarter.”
Queensland supplies 50 percent of the world’s seaborne metallurgical coal, or about 140 million metric tons a year, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The flooding in that region has affected an area larger than Texas and California combined.
Metallurgical coal is used to produce steel, while thermal forms of the fuel are needed by power plants to generate electricity.
Energy Publishing says it surveys buyers and sellers of coal to determine pricing.