(Corrects third paragraph in item transmitted on Feb 7 to show
barge almost sank, not sank)
LONDON Feb 7 Prices for coal delivered into
northwestern Europe moved up slightly on Thursday as did
near-term swaps on concerns about supply from Colombia, the
world's fourth-biggest exporter.
European coal into Amsterdam/Rotterdam/Antwerp (DES ARA) for
delivery in April was bid at $87.70 for February cargoes,
compared with a previous settlement of $86.60 a tonne.
Traders said the physical market had responded to news that
U.S coal miner Drummond, which owns Colombia's second-biggest
mine, has had its export licence revoked following reports that
a coal barge almost sank near Santa Marta port in mid-January.
"Drummond exports around 75,000 tonnes a day (27 million
tonnes a year) through the terminal so the suspension of its
export licence could have a major impact, if sustained," said
one Colombia-based coal trader.
Santa Marta is a major coal export terminal is also one of
the Latin American country's main tourist resorts.
Colombia's National Environmental Licensing Authority said
the action was a "preventative measure" and would be lifted once
Drummond updates local authorities on what happened and presents
a contingency plan. [ID: nL1N0B6JSY]
Traders said the export licence is unlikely to be withheld
for long as Colombia's government earns big royalties from coal
The coal market was already strongly focused on Colombia
because of a possible strike by miners at the country's Cerrejon
mine, which exported 32.8-million tonnes in 2012.
Workers have until later on Thursday to decide whether to
strike before a window on a walk-out closes. [ID: nL1N0B6FN9]
Supply concerns from Colombia also drove up prices for
swaps, with the API2 contract for March delivery trading at
$88.50, up $0.40.
Coal swaps for 2014 delivery traded at $99.60,
down $0.15, as traders as the German power market continued to
The main German power contract fell 0.15 euros over the day
to trade at 41.45 euros/megawatt hour on Tuesday, as traders
said an increase in solar power would comfortably meet
additional demand prompted by colder weather. [ID: nL5N0B7FVK]
Analysts said that a forecast uptick in demand for coal in
the U.S amid a likely increase in the price of gas is likely to
mean a drawdown on stockpiles rather than increased production.
U.S. thermal coal miners, primed for a recovery in demand,
will have to wait for up to a year while stockpiles are run down
before profiting from the fuel's return to being the cheap
alternative to natural gas in power generation, analysts said.
New-York based Doyle Trading Consultants said on Thursday it
expects U.S exports of thermal coal to decline 10 million tonnes
this year, meaning that forecast higher U.S. gas prices would
only have a small impact on shipments to Europe.
(Reporting by John McGarrity, editing by William Hardy)