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European coal futures climb to 13-year peak

European coal futures rose to a 13-year high and physical thermal coal prices were at record highs as rallying gas prices and strong Asian demand fuelled coal buying.

The European API2 coal futures contract for 2022 was 6.7% higher at $179.25 a tonne by 1427 GMT, the highest level since 2008.

The continued rally in European natural gas prices has incentivised more coal-fired power generation in Europe which is helping to drive up prices, analysts said.

European benchmark natural gas prices at the Dutch TTF hub are at all-time highs and some contracts are nearing 100 euros ($116.28) per megawatt hour.

“Looking at the European fuel complex, gas has for some time now lost its competitive advantage over coal in the fuel switch. As a consequence, coal use has significantly gone up in northwest Europe,” said Swedish energy consultancy ELS Analysis.

Physical thermal coal prices are also at all-time highs. Australian coal cargoes for delivery from the Newcastle terminal in November settled at $230.05 on Friday.

In the European physical thermal coal market, cargoes into Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp (ARA) in November also settled at a record high of $238.50 a tonne on Friday.

A cold winter in Asia, followed by a hot summer and stronger economic growth, has also caused Chinese demand to increase significantly, analysts at Commerzbank said.

Source: Reuters

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