European Coal Price for 2015 Advances to Highest in Two Months

European coal for 2015 rose for a record sixth day as supplies to the region were trimmed in the first quarter.

Coal for delivery next year in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp climbed as much as 0.9 percent to the highest since Feb. 6, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. Month-ahead coal jumped 1.3 percent, the most in almost three weeks.

Cold weather in Russia as well as export interruptions from the U.S. have cut the volume of thermal coal available to European buyers, according to brokerage Marex Spectron Group Ltd. U.S. mine operator James River Coal Co. (JRCC) filed for bankruptcy on April 7 for a second time after declining prices caused it to idle a dozen mines.

“There have been certain withdrawals of mining capacity in the Atlantic Basin in the last three to six months,” Georgi Slavov, Marex Spectron’s head of basic resources and freight research, said by phone. “Russian ports are less accessible in winter. Mining is more difficult and costs go up.”

Coal for 2015 rose to as high as $83 a metric ton today, a 4.3 percent gain from a record-low $79.60 in February. The contract was trading at $82.70 at 1:35 p.m. in London, broker data show.

Temperatures in Siberia, Russia’s main mining region, were as much as 11 degrees Celsius (20 Fahrenheit) colder than normal in January, according to Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia. February and March were warmer than usual, according to the weather service.

Thermal Coal

Severstal OAO’s production of thermal coal, used by power stations to generate electricity, fell 31 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier, the Russian steelmaker and miner said yesterday without citing a reason for the drop.

Drummond Co., the second-largest coal producer in Colombia, resumed coal exports from that country on March 31. The company halted all loadings in Colombia on Jan. 13 after it was banned from loading the fuel onto ships by barge and crane.

Coal prices in Rotterdam, Europe’s main import hub for the fuel, will average $79 a ton in 2014, according to the median of nine forecasts compiled by Bloomberg. Prices will probably be capped at about $85 a ton as Colombian exports build up, Walter de Wet, a commodities strategist at Standard Bank in Johannesburg, said in a report yesterday. He sees coal averaging $77 a ton this year.

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