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EU Carbon Pares Losses as Virus Threatens Trading Registries

Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) -- European Union carbon permits pared losses as Germany and other regulators said trading registries that track ownership of the allowances may have been attacked by a computer virus named Nimkey.

EU permits for spot delivery declined 5 cents, or 0.3 percent, to 15.05 euros ($19.91) a metric ton on the BlueNext exchange in Paris. They earlier dropped to 14.90 euros a ton, the lowest level since Nov. 23. They rose 0.8 percent in the week and 22 percent so far this year.

Germany’s registry said it blocked transactions until Dec. 3, after reports that access data were stolen from users of other European emissions trading registries with the help of Nimkey, a so-called Trojan virus, according to the website of DEHSt, the registry in Berlin. The EU carbon market is the world’s biggest.

Any blockage of the nation’s registry during Dec. 1 would probably cause “serious difficulties” for traders seeking delivery on that day, said Louis Redshaw, head of environmental markets for Barclays Capital in London.

The majority of over-the-counter forward contracts are for delivery that day, he said today by phone. “The danger is other registries may also block transactions during this time,” further restricting delivery options, he said. Germany’s blockage may not prevent all deals, Julie Steinen, a spokeswoman for DEHSt, said in an interview.

Unable to Send

“The suspension of transactions in the German registry means that users can receive emissions certificates from accounts at other foreign registries, but they won’t be able to send certificates from their accounts until the moment the suspension ends,” Steinen said.

The Belgian registry said on its website it was temporarily unavailable and access to accounts will remain blocked “until further information is received on the possible impact” of the virus. The Dutch registry also suspended access. Other national registries in the EU cap-and-trade, including Denmark, Poland, Portugal and the U.K., urged operators to remain cautious and review their security measures.

“We ask you to make sure that your computer is not affected before a future log in to the registry,” DEHSt said on its website.

Transactions will be blocked until 6 p.m. local time on Dec. 3, DEHSt said. The registry is offline since yesterday and won’t be online before 8 a.m. on Nov. 29, it said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mathew Carr in London at m.carr@bloomberg.net; Ewa Krukowska in Warsaw at ekrukowska@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss at sev@bloomberg.net

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