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Coking coal prices could correct to USD 200 in 2012

Dow Jones reported that coking coal prices could correct downward to $200 a metric a ton in 2012, but the caveat is the Australian weather that could determine the supply dynamics in the year ahead.

Mr Gerard McCloskey a consultant and former owner of UK based McCloskey Group told an audience at the Mining Indaba “There will be a correction of prices down to USD 200 per tonne.”

Mr McCloskey added “But it's a great price.”

He noted that the price for coking coal has remained above USD 200 a tonne for six consecutive quarters already.

He noted that the key caveat would be the amount of rain that falls in the Queensland basin in Australia this year. Heavy rainfall could shut down exports from the world's largest seaborne coking coal region as it has done so in the past, most notably last year.

McCloskey said that if Australia were to produce at levels last seen in the first half of 2010 when it was uninterrupted by rain, that's an extra 30 million tonnes coming into a 140 million tonne market.

He told "That's a lot to take, which could result in weaker prices.”

He added that there are already signs of oversupply in the market, with shipments of US coking coal anchored off the coast of China, waiting to be sold.

McCloskey said prices would weaken, but told the audience not to panic because they will still be well above costs.

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