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Northeast carbon market prices shift higher after auction

Secondary market prices for Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative carbon dioxide allowances shifted higher following the program's latest quarterly auction.

According to broker data as of the week ended March 19, the March 2019 vintage 2019 RGGI contract was quoted in a bid-and-offer range of $5.37/ton to $5.48/ton, rising 24 cents from assessments made earlier in the month. The benchmark December 2019 vintage 2019 contract was eyed in a bid-and-ask spread of $5.56/ton to $5.65/ton, gaining 22 cents from early March.

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In RGGI's first auction of the year, 100% of the more than 12.8 million allowances on offer sold at a clearing price of $5.27/ton, down 8 cents from the previous sale in December 2018.

There were 43 bidders in the RGGI auction, with the ratio of bids coming in at three times the total amount of allowances. RGGI said 74% of the allowances sold in the March auction were bought by compliance entities or their affiliates. Compliance-oriented entities purchased 51% of the auction allowances.

RGGI is made up of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. The participating states use a market-based cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from regional power plants, selling nearly all emissions allowances through auctions and investing proceeds in energy efficiency projects.

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