Euro Coal-Prices rally to $95/T, highest since April
* S.African prices rise by $4/T to $92
* Colombia force majeures bolster prices -utilities
* Polish, Venezuelan, Indonesian coal offered into Europe
By Jacqueline Cowhig
LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Physical European prompt coal prices rallied by $1.00 a tonne on Tuesday to $95, the highest level since April 19, boosted by Colombian force majeures, utilities and traders said.
South African FOB prices rose more steeply by $4 to around $92, the highest since late June, but no fresh trades were reported.
Calendar 2013 swaps prices reached $100-$102 a tonne, a level that is likely to draw out fresh offers from sellers who could not make a profit at $82-$88 a tonne, the price range seen for most of the past two months.
There is a growing consensus that the market has seen the lowest prices it is likely to this year and that they will recover gradually in the next several months.
"The Colombia force majeures are giving a bit of life to the market, that's the main reason prices have risen quite strongly so when it's over, we could see a weaker market in late August," one end-user said.
Other players felt the market's rise was overdone, particularly if it was based upon current strikes in Colombia, which may end within days.
"They'll be back at work within days and there is far too much coal around, everywhere," one European trader said.
The strike by workers on Colombia's Fenoco railway, which moves coal for Drummond, Prodeco and Goldman Sachs has lasted for nearly two weeks and resulted in cargo force majeures which have removed 1.5 million tonnes from the country's exports this year.
Prodeco's mineworkers have also taken strike action for improved pay and benefits but even if they returned to work, so long as the railway is not operating, coal cannot flow to the ports from these producers' mines.
Colombia's ports, in common with most coal exporting countries, tend to run at maximum capacity and throughput so it will be impossible to catch up later this year with any prompt shipments that have been missed, industry sources said.
While the strike has reduced prompt supply and encouraged cautiously bullish sentiment, there is still too much coal available in both the Atlantic and Pacific markets.
The $5 rise in prices over the past two weeks has drawn out offers and some sales into Europe.
One major European utility has bought a cargo of Indonesian high-quality coal from a bank and is likely to take another.
Offers of Polish, Venezuelan, Indonesian and U.S. coal are being seen at current ARA prices, utilities said.
A September loading South African cargo was bid at $91.00 and offered at $90.90, a rise of $4.00.
An October cargo was bid at $91.50 and offered at $92.50, also up $4.
An October DES ARA cargo was bid at $95.75 and offered at$96.75, up $1.00. (Reporting by Jacqueline Cowhig; Editing by Anthony Barker)
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