January 20, 2015 / 6:32 AM / 4 years ago

Tumbling Russian rouble pulls European coal prices with it

GRAPHIC: Rouble & coal: link.reuters.com/cah83w

By Henning Gloystein SINGAPORE, Jan 20 (Reuters) - European coal prices have struggled much more than other global benchmarks this year, catching many traders by surprise. Dispatches from a few trading houses now say cheap Russian cargoes have been a major cause.

A near 50 percent decline in the Russian rouble against the dollar since June, following Western sanctions against Moscow over its involvement in the Ukraine crisis and a fall in oil and gas prices, has made the country’s coal extremely competitive in Europe.

“Russia is Europe’s biggest coal supplier, and their dumping has pulled down the market much further than in other market regions such as Asia,” said a coal analyst with a major trading house, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Prices of coal arriving at Europe’s main import terminals in Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp have shed over 20 percent in value this month. They are now at a discount of almost $15 per tonne versus coal exported from major global producer Australia.

The slump has also been driven by slower demand due to a milder-than-usual winter in the Northern Hemisphere as well as a deluge of cargoes from the United States. (Editing by Ryan Woo)

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