* U.S. coal offers dry up, replaced by Russian
* Utilities unfazed by Danube river blockage
LONDON, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Freezing weather continued to drive up gas and power prices but coal values fell again because utilities have more coal than they need and stockpiles are close to full, utilities and traders said.
Gas and power demand has surged across Europe due to the severe cold weather, but utilities, traders and producers are offering very prompt cargoes of Russian and multi-origin coal and finding few buyers.
“What’s interesting is there are quite a few offers of March delivery cargoes and you have to wonder why - were these sold previously and somebody’s backed out or was everybody assuming China would come back in early February and buy?” one major utility source said.
The prompt DES ARA market on Thursday was predominantly made up of Russian cargoes rather than multi-origin and it is unusual for utilities to offer Russian-only cargoes so visibly.
“You’re not going to get a premium any more for Russian coal but to see Russian-only rather than multi-origin cargoes which often turn out to be Russian shows they need to get rid of it,” one European trader said.
Ice has blocked the river Danube in south Germany to inland waterways barges which move coal from the main import terminals to the power plants along the Danube and Rhine but this had no impact on prices, utilities said.
A March DES ARA Russian cargo was bid at $97.50 and offered at $98.90, down 75 cents.
An April DES ARA Russian cargo was bid at $98.25 and offered at $99.50, also down around 75 cents.
A March loading South African cargo was bid at $103.75 and offered at $110.00, down $1.00 on the bid. (Reporting by Jacqueline Cowhig; Editing by Alison Birrane)