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European Coal Falls to Record as Imports From Colombia to Resume

European coal dropped to a record amid expectations that imports of the fuel from Colombia will increase after strikes that hampered supply ended.

Coal for 2014 delivery to Amsterdam, Rotterdam or Antwerp, the European benchmark, fell as much as 0.4 percent to the lowest since it started trading in 2010 and the cheapest for a next-year contract since December 2009, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg.

Strikes for better pay and conditions that started in February in Colombia, the third-largest foreign supplier of the fuel to the European Union, helped alleviate the effects of a global glut in production and lower demand from power plants that cut prices in the region by 16 percent in the first half. Supplies from Colombia to the EU should recover by the end of the year after plunging 26 percent in the period through June, according to Diana Bacila, a coal analyst at Oslo-based Nena AS.

“I don’t see a risk of strikes for the rest of the year,” Bacila said today by telephone.

The 2014 coal price fell as low as $81.80 a metric ton before trading at $82 at 2:12 p.m. London time, the broker data show. The contract has fallen 21 percent this year.

BHP Billiton Ltd.’s Cerrejon venture, Colombia’s biggest coal mine, said Oct. 7 output this year will be in line with forecasts after a monthlong strike that started in February. Workers at the country’s second-largest mine, owned by Drummond Co., went on a 53-day strike in July.

The disruptions cut about 8.5 million tons of Colombia’s production, compared with full-year exports expected at 75 million tons, Deutsche Bank analysts including Michael Lewis said in a Sept. 25 report.

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