March 1, 2012 / 6:17 PM / 5 years ago

Euro Coal-Prices drop $1/T for 3rd day on poor demand

* April DES ARA trades at $95.00/T

* Richards Bay stocks dip to 2.8 million tonnes

LONDON, March 1 (Reuters) - Prompt physical coal prices fell by $1.00 for the third consecutive day on oversupply and a lack of buying interest in Europe.

European DES ARA prices have come under more pressure than the FOB Richards Bay market because of flow of U.S. coal into Europe, the impact of the warmest European winter for 30 years, weak gas prices and key Asian buyers such as China largely staying out of the spot market.

"DES is down by another dollar, there is some utility buying because these prices are attractive but it's fairly limited," one utility source said.

The South African market has been steadier with the front month of the 90 day prompt window retaining a premium because supply is fairly tight, suppliers said.

Stocks at Richards Bay Coal Terminal had dropped below 3 million tonnes on Wednesday and producers say they have little unsold material for April.

There has been Indian buying, mostly bilaterally and all spot, since the start of the year but this week there has been a rise in the number of enquiries from Indian traders and end-users, drawn by Richards Bay prices just above $100 a tonne.

Certain end-users in India, particularly in the cement sector, still prefer South African coal and have been buying although cement makers are also trying cargoes of cheaper U.S. coal.

India took 1.3 million tonnes of South African coal in January, down from 1.7 in December.

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GRAPHIC: DES ARA physical prices Oct-Feb: here

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TRADES

A Q1 2013 South African trade took place at $108.50.

An April DES ARA cargo traded at $95.00, down around $1.00.

PRICES

An April South African cargo was bid at $104.00 and offered at $106.25 unchanged. (Reporting by Jacqueline Cowhig; editing by Keiron Henderson)

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