Europe’s ARA coal stocks post 6% gain on week to 2.8 million mt


Combined coal stocks in western Europe’s Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp trading hub posted a gain of 6.4% on the week, climbing 165,000 mt to total 2.76 million mt, according to data gathered from port sources Tuesday.

This was the first significant gain in volumes — over a 2% increase — for more than 15 weeks, S&P Global Platts data showed, although stocks were rebounding from historic low levels.

Despite the gain, volumes remained 47.5% lower than in the same week during 2015, when stocks had stood at 5.26 million.

According to port sources, OBA Bulk Amsterdam’s terminal was the only facility to show a week-on-week reduction, with combined coal stocks dropping 50,000 mt to 1.15 million.

A source close to the port did not anticipate that inventory levels would improve much over July, and may even decline as few vessels were scheduled to arrive.

At 1.15 million mt, total volumes at the report were 1.55 million mt below the same week in 2015.

Combined coal stocks at the EMO Dry Bulk Terminal in Rotterdam by comparison, showed a gain of 200,000 mt over the week to reach 1.2 million mt, with coking coal accounting for around 200,000 mt of the total.

Sources said they expected the uptrend in volume to continue, as more shipments — particularly from Colombia and the US — were due to arrive over the course of the month.

The OVET Dry Bulk Terminal in Vlissingen also showed a week on week gain, with 410,000 mt of coal on stock Monday, rising 15,000 mt. However, this was 48,000 mt lower compared to the same week in 2015, records showed.

Nearly 60 physical deals for July-delivery had been concluded through various brokers and trading platforms, according to Platts data, 19 of which had been done so with Rotterdam-only restrictions, while two had Amsterdam-only delivery restrictions.

In the past week, European-delivered thermal coal spot prices had continued to rally, largely led by movements in the derivatives market which tracked higher on short-covering activity.

Despite the underwhelming fundamental demand from European coal buyers, the price of European-delivered CIF ARA thermal coal basis 6,000 kcal/kg NAR for delivery within the next 15-60 days gained more than $4 over the past week to settle at $53.50/mt Monday.

Source: Platts

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