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Europe’s ARA coal stocks up 1.3% week on week to 3.4 million mt

Combined thermal coal stock levels at three delivery terminals in western Europe’s Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp trading hub were more or less steady for the second consecutive week Wednesday, as demand for coal remained slow, offsetting the limited number of deliveries, port sources said.

At 3.4 million mt, volumes showed a 1.3% build week on week but remained only 50,000 mt higher than the lowest levels recorded for 2016 around mid-April.

The volume was down 22.9% year on year, with stocks close to 1 million mt below levels seen in the same week of 2015.

According to port sources, coal stocks at the EMO Dry Bulk Terminal slipped 100,000 mt over the week to around 1.6 million mt Wednesday, touching levels not seen since early February. This was 200,000 mt lower than levels seen at the terminal during the same week in 2015.

“This week, I do not see many arrivals due, so [stocks] could be around similar levels or even slightly lower in the coming week. It depends how much offtake there is from power plants,” a source close to the port said.

“They are burning coal, but obviously it is warmer now and the renewable generation is strong, so the demand is very low.”

The source also said holidays across much of Northwest Europe this week would also likely disrupt deliveries into the region.

Elsewhere, port sources said stocks at OBA Bulk Amsterdam’s terminal were more or less steady on week at 1.35 million mt, for the fourth consecutive week, a record low for the facility since Platts data began in 2013.

The volume was also close to 1 million mt below levels seen at the terminal a year ago.

The OVET Dry Bulk Terminal in Vlissingen was the only facility to show a build for both week-on-week and year-on-year comparisons. Stocks edged 45,000 mt higher week on week, and 27,000 mt above levels seen in 2015.

European demand for thermal coal remained slow, with only two onscreen deals seen concluded in the previous week.

Prices had started to retreat following a sharp rally prompted by an announcement from France around plans for carbon pricing, which lifted sentiment.

Platts assessed the price of European-delivered CIF ARA thermal coal basis 6,000 kcal/kg NAR and for delivery within the next 15-60 days at $46.25/mt Tuesday, falling 40 cents/mt on the week.
Source: Platts

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