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Indonesian Coal Swaps Advance for a Third day; China Prices Gain

Swaps prices for thermal coal from Indonesia, the world’s largest exporter of the fuel, rose for a third day, 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 second quarter climbed 10 cents to $64.90 a metric ton on a net-as-received basis yesterday, Ginga said in an e-mail today. The February contract was unchanged at $63.90 a ton.

Contracts for coal with a heating value of 5,500 kilocalories a kilogram for shipment to South China in the second quarter rose 10 cents to $87 a ton on a net-as-received basis, the energy broker said. The February contract gained 10 cents to $85.90 a ton.

Gains in seaborne thermal coal prices may be limited through 2017 because the Chinese market is unlikely to tighten significantly, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in an e-mailed report today. Spot thermal coal price at Australia’s Newcastle port, the benchmark for Asian contracts, will trade in range of $90 to $100 a ton through 2017, according to the bank’s forecast.

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 fewer than 6,100 kilocalories per kilogram, according to the Indonesian energy ministry.

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