LONDON: Physical coal prices for delivery early in 2013 fell on Wednesday as crude oil prices weakened and front-year baseload power hit a 2.5-year low.
South African cargoes for delivery in February traded at $90.00, down $0.75 since Tuesday but traders expect supply to be tight amid plentiful orders for the first quarter of next year.
India's demand is said to be brisk as power producers attempt to rebuild depleted stocks of coal.
Coal for delivery into Amsterdam/Rotterdam/Antwerp (DES ARA) traded at $93 a tonne for the February contract, down $1.10 from Tuesday's settlement.
A slightly more bearish tone in the physical market was reflected in coal swaps where the the API2 2013 contract fell $0.35 to $96.65, while German 2013 forward power prices fell to a 2.5-year low of 46.03 euros/MWh in the wake of weaker energy prices and economic worries.
Despite some suggestions of tightness early in 2013, when demand from power producers in the Northern Hemisphere is expected to peak for the year, the coal market remains well supplied.
Latin American producers expected to take up the slack from any further fall in output from Australian and the US, where producers continue to idle or shut mines amid rising costs and cheap gas, analysts said.
The API2 2013 contract is almost 30 percent below its most recent peak in the third quarter of 2011.