Platts, a leading source of energy, petrochemicals and metals benchmarks, today introduced a valuation mechanism that will bring greater clarity and specificity to thermal coal pricing based on ash content. Ash is the non-combustible residue left after coal is burnt.
“The new valuation mechanism is an important methodology addition to our assessment process for thermal coal prices,” said James O’Connell, Platts senior managing editor, international coal, at the occasion of CoalTrans Australia, an industry conference in Brisbane this week. “For the first time, buyers and sellers in the spot market have access to a pricing methodology that brings a higher degree of precision to coal valuation by accounting for variations in ash, which can be wide-ranging.”
Platts now applies a “normalization” value, expressed as a percentage of total price and in U.S. dollars per metric ton, to each 1% of additional ash content in thermal coal within the published standard range of 17% to 23%. This makes apparent the premium and discounts that can arise within a single grade of coal, because coal, though like-kind in quality, can vary by individual chemical properties.
Prior to this innovation, the Platts assessment process considered ash content in the 17-23% range and normalized to a standard specification of 20%.
The methodology change applies specifically to Platts’ price assessment process for FOB Newcastle 5500 NAR 17-23% ash, an assessment for thermal coal loaded free on board (FOB) at Newcastle, Australia with an energy-producing calorific value 5500 kilocalories per kilogram and delivered seven- to 45 days forward on a net-as-received (NAR) basis.
Platts FOB Newcastle 5500 NAR 17-23% was first launched in January to address the industry’s need for a global benchmark for lower calorific thermal coal produced and consumed in the Asia-Pacific region.
“Anytime you can fine-tune pricing for quality nuances, it would not be unreasonable to expect a knock-on effect of increased market confidence and deeper liquidity,” said O’Connell.
Platts publishes more than a dozen daily and weekly thermal coal assessments for Asia and other regions, serving the price information needs of thermal coal producers, power producers, cement manufacturers, coal traders and ship brokers. The Platts FOB Newcastle 5500 NAR and other coal assessments are published in Coal Trader International among other publications and services.
Platts’ price assessment methodologies for coal have been developed in consultation with a cross section of key industry players and draw upon Platts’ century of experience in benchmark price reporting in the energy markets. Assessments reflect transactions and bids and offers as determined between buyers and sellers in the open spot market.
Founded in 1909, Platts (platts.com) is a leading global provider of energy, petrochemicals and metals information and a premier source of benchmark prices for those markets. Platts' news, pricing, analytics, commentary and conferences help customers make better-informed trading and business decisions and help the markets operate with greater transparency and efficiency. Customers in 150 countries benefit from Platts’ coverage of the oil, petrochemicals, natural gas, electricity, coal, nuclear power, shipping, and metals markets. A division of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Platts has approximately 900 employees in more than 15 offices worldwide.
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