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EUROPE POWER-Forwards at more than one-year highs after French nuclear report
September 29, 2016 / 8:21 AM / a year ago

EUROPE POWER-Forwards at more than one-year highs after French nuclear report

* French tight nuclear supply drives buying

* Gas, coal up on pre-winter covering, CO2 follows

* Spot jumps with curve, colder weather nearing

By Vera Eckert

FRANKFURT, Sept 29 (Reuters) - European forward electricity prices hit their highest levels in more than a year on Thursday after a report that said France might extend nuclear outages, which would tighten supply in the region as winter approaches.

A recovery in the prices of related fuels and a jump in the carbon market also boosted prices, traders said.

Traders also cited higher crude oil prices after OPEC members agreed to curb output on Wednesday, although oil accounts for only a marginal amount of power generation.

“It all feels very bullish - fundamentals and sentiment - and will continue this way, as operators work all these factors in,” one said.

The benchmark German Cal‘17 year-ahead baseload contract was at 30 euros ($33.67) a megawatt hour (MWh), up 1.7 percent at 0726 GMT, a level last seen in mid-August 2015.

The less liquid equivalent French contract rose 2 percent to 39.4 euros/MWh, also a level last seen in August 2015.

French state-controlled utility EDF is to carry out more tests on 12 nuclear reactors during their planned outages in the coming months in a carbon probe, which could affect the length of the outages at some plants.

Germany and France are closely interconnected and any supply gaps in France - where nuclear provides 75 percent of the power - will encourage a flow of exports from Germany in that direction, withdrawing supplies available to others in Europe.

The bullishness in power partly drove other prices higher as utilities have to buy fuels and carbon certificates to cover their generation output.

France’s current nuclear availability of 61 percent is down from nearly 70 percent a year earlier.

Front-year EU carbon allowances gained 5 percent to 5.20 euros/MWh.

Coal, which has benefitted from a demand-driven global upswing in prices, rose to $64.5 euros a tonnes, its highest since February 2015. Coal accounts for more than 40 percent of Germany’s power generation.

In the spot market, power prices for next-day delivery rose on retreating wind and solar supply and cooler weather expectations for next week, which will lift consumption.

German baseload for Friday delivery jumped by 9.25 euros to 33.25 euros/MWh while the French contract rose 1 euro to 40 euros/MWh.

As of 0705 GMT, UK day-ahead baseload power was up almost 30 percent at 46.75 pounds per megawatt-hour.

In eastern Europe, the Czech year-ahead 2017 contract was untraded after a 29 euros/MWh close while day-ahead power gained 1.8 euros to 38.80.

$1 = 0.8910 euros Additional reporting by Nina Chestney in London; editing by Jason Neely

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