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Indonesian Sub-Bituminous Coal Swaps Rise; China Contracts Flat

Swap contracts rose for lower-quality coal from Indonesia, the world’s biggest exporter of the power-station fuel, according to Ginga Petroleum Singapore Pte. Prices for deliveries to China were unchanged.

The price for sub-bituminous coal with a heating value of 4,900 kilocalories a kilogram for loading from Indonesia in the third quarter increased 5 cents to $63.65 a metric ton on a net as-received basis on June 29, the energy broker said in an e-mail today. The July swap was also 5 cents higher at $63.25 a ton.

Coal with a calorific value of 5,500 kilocalories a kilogram for shipment to South China in July was unchanged at $85.50 a ton on a net as-received basis, Ginga said. The swap for the third quarter remained at $86.25.

A commodity swap is a financial agreement whereby a floating price is exchanged for a fixed rate over a specified contract period.

China’s benchmark power-station coal price at the Qinhuangdao port fell 1.5 percent to a range of 660 yuan ($104) to 680 yuan a ton as of yesterday, according to the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association today. That’s the lowest price since November 2009.

About 60 percent of Indonesia’s coal is classified as sub-bituminous. The grade is typically softer, with a dull, earthy appearance, according to the London-based World Coal Association. Higher moisture levels and a lower carbon content reduce the heating value compared with grades with a better quality stock. Sub-bit coal has kilocalories of less than 6,100 per kilogram, according to the Indonesian energy ministry.

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