* EU carbon permits end virtually flat
* Volume likely to dip next week
* EU-wide carbon registry to open in June
LONDON, April 27 European Union carbon permits
finished virtually flat on Friday, as market participants said
they were uninspired by mixed energy prices and flagging demand
ahead of a holiday in several countries next week.
The benchmark emissions allowance closed at 7.37
euros ($9.77) a tonne, a gain of 3 cents on the day and nearer
to the top end of this week's 7.05-7.48 euro trading range.
Traded volume in the front-year contract on Friday reached a
relatively thin 10 million units on ICE Futures Europe at 1700
Carbon market participants held back from taking big
positions due to a combination of mixed energy prices, a May 1
holiday in some European countries and limited demand for carbon
permits from the power sector, traders said.
"There is no incentive for market participants to move in
either direction," said a trader at an environmental commodities
brokerage, adding volume is likely to decline next week.
"Some people will be on holiday and it will be the end of
the compliance period," the trader said, referring to power
utilities which generally need to buy CO2 permits to comply with
the EU emissions trading scheme.
Energy prices were mixed. British gas prices defied bearish
trading in the oil market, where Spain's sovereign credit rating
downgrade weighed on investor confidence.
An EU-wide emissions registry will open in June, but
accounts at existing EU member state registries will be
inaccessible for two weeks prior to the open, the European
Commission said on Friday.
As a result, none of the 30,000 registry account holders
will be able to transfer emissions units during that period,
meaning Europe's spot carbon market will effectively be closed.
More details and the exact timetable will be released on May 3.
Traders said the temporary closure would have little impact
on the market, because they could still buy and sell carbon
permits on the forward market.
In the United Nations-backed carbon market, prices of
certified emission reductions for December delivery
slumped 1 percent to close at 3.81 euros a tonne.
CERs, which are issued to qualifying emission-reduction
projects in developing countries, have fallen around 6 percent
in the secondary market over the past week, as new supply weighs
on limited demand.
Project developers have asked the U.N. to issue 7.5 million
CERs next week, up 27 percent from the 5.9 million handed out
this week, and above the 6.1 million weekly average seen so far
($1 = 0.7542 euros)
(Reporting by Jeff Coelho; editing by James Jukwey)