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EU coal port inventories swell to 6-week high

(Montel) Coal stocks at northwestern European import terminals have risen 4% over the past week to the highest level in six weeks amid an upturn in vessel arrivals.

Combined stocks at four key terminals in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp (ARA) were assessed at just over 6m tonnes, a weekly increase of 0.26m tonnes and the highest since 23 October, Montel estimates of port data showed on Tuesday.

Coal imports of all grades to ARA hubs were seen rising this month to almost 3m tonnes, from 2.7m tonnes in November and 2.6m tonnes in October, preliminary estimates by dry bulk data service DBX showed.

“The API 2 market is in backwardation heading into the next year, indicating a well-supplied European market,” it said in a note, regarding prices declining along the forward curve.

Indeed, the January API 2 contract was seen last in the USD 114.50-115/t bid-offer range, while the February contract was at USD 109-113.45/t, on Ice Futures.

Of the ARA stock total, inventories at Rotterdam’s EMO terminal were 0.3m tonnes higher on the week at 3.8m tonnes, while stocks at the OBA terminal in Amsterdam were unchanged at 1.68m tonnes.

Stocks at Rotterdam’s smaller EBS terminal were marginally lower at 0.82m tonnes, while Ovet’s Vlissingen terminal near Antwerp reported a decline of 0.3m tonnes to 0.47m tonnes, of which 0.44m tonnes were thermal.