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EU carbon prices hit Eur40/mt for first time


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Prices supported by cold temps, long-term supply crunch

London — EU carbon allowance prices edged above Eur40/mt ($48.51/mt) for the first time ever Feb. 11, taking support from colder than normal temperatures in Europe and an expected long-term tightening of supply.

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EU Allowance futures contracts for December 2021 delivery on the ICE Futures Europe exchange rose to an all-time intra-day high of Eur40.12/mt Feb. 11, compared with a close of Eur39.33/mt Feb. 10.

A daily auction of 3.2885 million EUAs by a group of EU nations Feb. 11 cleared at an all-time high of Eur39.62/mt, setting the tone for a bullish day of trading in the secondary carbon markets.

Colder than average temperatures across much of Europe continued to provide a short-term stimulus for carbon prices by driving the European energy complex higher in early February.

Cold temperatures increase demand for domestic heating and can bring marginal fossil fuel-fired generating plants into the merit order for power generation, raising CO2 emissions and demand for allowances.

The latest push higher came against a backdrop of tightening supply of allowances as EU regulators are set to propose legislation in June that will translate tougher 2030 emissions reduction targets into lower annual carbon caps under the EU Emissions Trading System.

Annual free allocation of allowances for the industrial sectors -- normally taking place in February each year -- has also been delayed in 2021, further contributing to a constrained supply picture in the short-term.