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Australian thermal coal prices lowest in 10 years as Colombian coal targets Asia

Australianthermal coal prices for delivery in June plunged to $46.60 per tonne, thelowest since 2006, as Colombian miners start targeting Asia amid a dwindlingdemand in Europe and North America, Reuters reported April 29.

"CurrentlyColombian coal is about $7-8 (per tonne) cheaper than the Australian coal andif this price trend continues, we are definitely willing to import more fromColombia," Reuters quoted a utility source working for South Korea'sEast-West Power utility as saying.

EWPbought 260,000 tonnes of Colombian coal in April on f.o.b. terms, adding toanother 410,000 tonnes which were ordered on a cost and freight basis, said thereport.

CitingPlatts, Reuters reported that the power utility paid $41 a tonne for the f.o.b.cargoes and $52 per tonne for the CFR supplies.

Analystsnoted that larger volumes of Colombian coal in the Pacific have easedAustralian prices, the report said.

Theextension of the Panama Canal which is nearing completion will further boostColombian coal exports to Asia, said the report citing the EWP utility sourcewho declined to be identified.

Factorssuch as competition with thriving renewables and U.S. shale, as well asimproving energy efficiency, has brought Colombian miners to look for new markets,Reuters wrote.

Platts is owned byS&P Global Inc.