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Indonesian Coal Swaps Drop a Second day; China Prices Unchanged

Swaps prices dropped a second day for thermal coal from Indonesia, the world’s largest exporter of the fuel for power stations, according to Ginga Petroleum Singapore Pte.

The swap for Indonesian sub-bituminous coal with a calorific value of 4,900 kilocalories a kilogram in the first quarter of 2013 fell 30 cents to $63.70 a metric ton on a net-as-received basis on Dec. 21, Ginga said in an e-mail today. The January contract also declined 30 cents to $63.70.

Contracts for coal with a heating value of 5,500 kilocalories a kilogram for shipment to South China in the first quarter and in January both held at $85.10 a ton on a net-as-received basis, the energy broker said.

China’s benchmark price for thermal coal fell to the lowest level in four months as imports and domestic supplies increased.

Spot coal with an energy value of 5,500 kilocalories per kilogram dropped to a range of 620 yuan ($99.44) to 630 yuan a ton as of yesterday at the port of Qinhuangdao, down 0.8 percent on average from a week earlier, according to data today from the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association. That’s the lowest since Aug. 19. Stockpiles at the port rose 2 percent from a week ago to 6.78 million tons.

A commodity swap is a financial agreement whereby a floating price is exchanged for a fixed rate over a specified contract period. About 60 percent of Indonesia’s coal is classified as sub-bituminous. Higher moisture levels and a lower carbon content reduce the heating value compared with 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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