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Indonesian Coal Swaps Gain a Second Day, China Prices Unchanged

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

The swap for Indonesian sub-bituminous coal with a calorific value of 4,900 kilocalories a kilogram in the second quarter rose 5 cents to $65.75 a metric ton on a net-as-received basis on Jan. 25, Ginga said in an e-mail today. The contract for February gained 5 cents to $64.55 a ton.

Contracts for coal with a heating value of 5,500 kilocalories a kilogram for shipment to South China in the second quarter were unchanged at $86.55 a ton on a net-as-received basis, the energy broker said. The February contract remained at $85.50 a ton.

Tornadoes in Australia’s Queensland state felled trees and power lines, as Oswald, which had been a tropical cyclone, dumped heavy rain and moved toward New South Wales, bringing damaging winds and possible flooding. Operations at the port of Newcastle in New South Wales are unaffected by the storms, Keith Powell, a spokesmen, said by telephone today.

The thermal-coal price at Newcastle, the benchmark for Asian contracts, surged to $138.50 a ton in January 2011 after Cyclone Yasi crimped output and shipments. Prices have declined to $91.15 a ton as of the week ending Jan. 18, according to data from IHS McCloskey.

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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