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Februari 12, 2010

Euro Coal-Prices soften as Chinese buying slows
Wed Feb 10, 2010 11:03pm IST
* March DES ARA trades at $71.50/T

* June DES AR trades at $76.00/T

* Chinese buying slows, S.African imports drop

LONDON, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Prices of prompt cargoes of coal for delivery into Europe weakened on Wednesday on a lack of European demand and market nerves over the possible impact of slower Chinese imports, traders said.

The market’s focus has been on Chinese demand and indications of a slowdown due to the Lunar New Year holiday next week have prompted some players to sell coal swaps, which has pulled down physical prices.

China’s imports of South African coal peaked in December but fell by 55 percent in January [ID:nLDE6191OJ], on the face of it a bearish sign.

But the difference in tonnage was merely two capesize cargoes and does not indicate a substantial fall in demand as interest remains strong, producers said.

India’s imports from South Africa also fell between December and January by 39 percent but this was due to producers maximising end-year exports rather than a drop in Indian need, producers said.

Continued strong Asian demand for steam coal will help push prices higher during 2010 but not to the record levels seen in 2008, they said.

“There should be some more good news over the next few months, with prices for iron ore and coal appearing as though they’ll go up,” said Tim Schroeders, a portfolio manager at Pengana Capital, commenting on BHP Billiton’s BHP.L results released on Wednesday [ID:NSGE61800Z].

TRADES

A July delivery 50,000 tonne multi-origin coal parcel traded at $76.50 a tonne DES AR on globalCOAL.

A March delivery parcel traded at $71.50 a tonne DES Rotterdam and a June delivery parcel traded at $76.00 DES AR on globalCOAL.

PRICES

An April loading South African coal cargo was bid at $79.75 a tonne FOB Richards Bay and offered at $81.00, down $2.00 from Tuesday.

An April delivery DES ARA cargo was bid at $72.50 for single origin coal and offered at $74.50, down 75 cents from Tuesday. For the latest oil market report please see [O/R]. For the latest power and gas report please see [NG/GB]. (Reporting by Jackie Cowhig; editing by James Jukwey)

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