April 27, 2012 / 4:48 PM / 5 years ago

Euro Coal-Prices drift down, Carbopego buys 2 cargoes

* China railway maintenance ends

* June DES ARA bid at $92.50/T

LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - European prompt physical coal prices were slightly weaker by around 50 cents on Friday, pressured by weak fundamentals in the Atlantic and a price standoff between Chinese buyers and sellers in the Pacific.

Patchy Iberian spot demand has been one of the few bright spots in the sluggish European market in recent months and while this is likely to continue, it will not be nearly enough to support sagging prices.

Portugal’s Carbopego on Friday bought 340,000 tonnes for summer delivery but declined to specify the price achieved or the suppliers.

The coal bought was “of various origins,” not all Colombian, the sources said.

A large, Colombian producer and exporter was expected to win the tender.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, trading was subdued with no fresh spot deals reported.

Pacific demand has also been patchy with strong buying interest from South Korea and Taiwan but Chinese buyers have been slow to visibly pursue standard-grade spot purchases.

Much of China’s recent imports, which remain high by historical standards, are made up of lower than standard grade coal from Australia and South Africa, traders said.

“The silver lining is that any uptick in Chinese power demand should logically translate directly into renewed coal import requirements,” Deutsche Bank said in a research note on Friday.

The end of maintenance on China’s Daqin railway to Qinhuangdao promises stock builds but FOB international coal prices remain cheaper than domestic fuel, which could trigger more buying soon.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ GRAPHIC: German coal vs gas power generation graph: link.reuters.com/saf77s DES ARA COAL PRICES: here GRAPHIC: Germany's coal vs gas "spark" and "dark" spreads comparing generation margins: German coal & gas power spreads: link.reuters.com/wyp87s GRAPHIC: Coal stockpiles at ARA's EMO, EBS and EMO terminals: link.reuters.com/zuq77s

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PRICES

A June DES ARA cargo was bid at $92.50 and offered at $94.75, down from Thursday’s last trade at $93.15.

A July DES ARA cargo was bid at $94.50 and offered at $95.00, slightly weaker but little changed.

A June South African cargo was bid at $99.30, also slightly weaker. (Reporting by Jacqueline Cowhig; editing by James Jukwey)

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