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UN Carbon Offsets for March Rise 94% as Compliance Buying Jumps

United Nations carbon credits for March jumped the most ever and trading rose to the highest in more than two months ahead of a deadline to surrender permits and offsets in the European Union’s carbon market.

March Certified Emission Reduction futures gained as much as 94 percent to 33 euro cents ($0.43) a metric ton on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange. That’s the highest price since Dec. 11. ICE Futures handled 5.2 million tons of March offsets, the busiest day since Dec. 11. The contract closed 82 percent higher at 31 cents.

March is the latest futures contract in which delivery of CERs to buyers is guaranteed to take place before factories and power stations in the EU emissions trading system must surrender offsets and permits matching their emissions for 2012. Emitters may surrender a limited number of CERs as part of their compliance, under EU rules.

“I reckon compliance buyers have decided they may as well use up their compliance space now with CERs being so cheap,” says Mark Meyrick, head of the carbon trading unit of Dutch utility Eneco in Rotterdam.

December CERs rose as much as 14 percent to 40 cents and closed 2 cents higher at 37 euro cents.

EU permits for December gained as much as 4.4 percent to 4.49 euros a ton and closed 17 cents higher at 4.47 euros. ICE Futures handled 15 million tons of December allowances, the lowest volume for that contract since Jan. 28.

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