According to The Australian Financial Review, coking coal prices have soared 15 per cent to an 11-week high after former Cyclone Debbie tore through the Queensland coalfields.
Spot markets for the bulk commodity rose from $US152.30 per tonne to $US175.70 per tonne on Tuesday morning, as steelmakers scrambled to buy cargoes ahead of an expected shortage.
Queensland produces more than 50 per cent of the world's seaborne coking coal and the railway that carries more than 50 per cent of Queensland's coal exports, the Goonyella line, will be out of action for about five weeks.
Three other railways that carry Queensland coal are also out of action at the moment, but should be repaired faster than the Goonyella line.
Miners like BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Anglo American, Glencore, Stanmore Coal and Wesfarmers are likely to have their exports interrupted.
The timing of this rally is particularly inconvenient for coking coal consumers in Korea and Japan in particular, who looked set to win a big reduction in the quarterly contract price for coking coal this week.
Negotiations for the June quarter price were well advanced and a price settlement between $US150 per tonne and $US160 per tonne appeared likely, down from $US285 per tonne in the three months to March 31.
But Credit Suisse predicted the quarterly contract price would likely be settled closer to $US180 per tonne.
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