By Jesper Starn
European coal for next-year delivery rose to the highest level since 2008 on strong demand from power stations and low stockpiles.
Coal for Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp gained 2.6% to $137 a metric ton. Soaring natural gas costs are continuing to push European utilities toward coal-fired generation, while exports of the commodity from Australia, South Africa and Colombia remain hampered, compounding the effect of low Russian supply.
“Stock levels across Europe are low, and as on the gas market, coal supply from Russia has fallen lately,” trading group Energi Danmark said in a note.
Benchmark gas prices have more than tripled this year amid a supply crunch. With Europe’s energy crisis dragging on, margins for next year are also starting to favor coal-fired power, spurring utilities to restock.
Spark and dark spreads for next year in Germany:
With fuel prices remaining high, German power for next year has topped 100 euros a megawatt-hour all week, notching up a 5.9% weekly gain and trading Friday at 106 euros a megawatt-hour.
European year-ahead coal prices rose above $200 a ton in the summer of 2008.
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