January 25, 2013 / 10:31 AM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-SocGen cuts EU carbon forecasts for 2013-2015 by 30 pct

* 2013 EUAs seen at 6.5 eur, down from 9.3 eur

* EUA contract touched new record low below 3 euros this week (Updates with more detail)

LONDON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - Societe Generale cut its forecasts for average European Union carbon prices from 2013 to 2015 on Friday by around 30 percent, given falls to record lows this week, analysts said in a research note.

The bank said it sees 2013 prices for so-called EU Allowances (EUAs) averaging 6.5 euros, down from 9.3 euros forecast in a Reuters poll earlier this month.

Prices in 2014 will average 7.5 euros, down from 10.9 euros and 2015 EUA prices will average 8.5 euros from 11.9 euros.

On Thursday, benchmark 2013 EUA prices briefly touched a new record low of 2.81 euros but were trading at around 4.16 euros on Friday.

Prices plunged after politicians opposed an emergency rescue plan, raising concerns the market could hit zero and scupper efforts to curb planet-warming emissions.

Thursday’s vote is only part of a long EU process. While not binding, it was the latest sign of the struggle the EU faces in reaching agreement to intervene in the carbon market.

EUAs are traded under the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS), which limits the carbon dioxide eissions of the 27 nation bloc’s factories and power plants and covers nearly half of EU emissions.

The scheme is central to Europe’s efforts to encourage industry to develop renewable energy but carbon prices are far below the level needed to provide that incentive.

Benchmark EUA futures have lost around 30 percent of their value since Christmas and around half their value over the past two months, Societe Generale analysts said.

This is mostly due to an over-supply of permits which is flooding the market and less demand due to economic slowdown.

To help boost prices, the European Commission has proposed temporarily removing 900 million permits from the scheme but the plan faces opposition from some member states.

“Negative news and events relating to the EU ETS continue to pile up and come from all sides. So it is not at all surprising that EUA prices have fallen and have continued to be quite volatile,” they said.

“The EU ETS has become a one-way market, spiralling down.”

Almost daily carbon permit auctions are exacerbating over-supply and putting additional pressure on prices.

Societe Generale expects the permit surplus to get worse and the release of verified emissions data for 2012 this Spring could deliver another blow to the scheme.

“At face value, the price behaviour of the 2013 EUA (contract) is starting to be uncannily reminiscent of that relative to the 2007 EUA (contract), which went into delivery at a price of virtually zero,” analysts said.

Prices crashed to near zero in 2007 from a peak of 32 euros in April 2006 because of the over-allocation of permits. Traders today dismiss that collapse, blaming it on early errors in the experimental phase of the market.

They expect the benchmark EUA contract to stabilise above the support level of 4 euros and bounce back to around 6 euros.

But prices would need to break the 6 euro level to confirm a more prolonged recovery to 7.70 euros or higher. (Reporting by Nina Chestney, editing by William Hardy)

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