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European thermal coal market well supplied, Richards Bay offered higher

Traders in the European thermal coal market were unchanged in sentimentThursday as US and Russian coal remains well offered, with benchmark gradeRichards Bay 6,000 kcal/kg South African coal offered near $100/mt.

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Markets have been sluggish due to holiday absences across the Atlantic Basin,a Central Europe-based trader said. The trader noted light trading activity isexpected next week as well due to the upcoming Russian national holiday.

A 50,000 mt, multi-origin, July-loading 6,000 kcal/kg NAR cargo traded in thelate morning at $85.75/mt. It was the first July-loading cargo seen so farthis year.

Higher spot demand for off-spec coals is being seen from North Africancountries like Morocco and Egypt, which typically receives US or Russian coal,a Swiss-based trader said.

The source said Colombian coal has been less well offered into Europe asproducers see greater margins placing tons elsewhere.

S&P Global Platts assessed the CIF ARA 6,000 kcal/kg NAR, 15-60 day price at$83.90/mt, down 30 cents on day.

The trader said the gap between FOB Richards Bay and CIF ARA prices was nowover $10, explaining this has led 6,000 kcal/kg NAR, FOB Richards Bay coalunlikely to price into any market globally.

As a result, this has put upwards pressure on mid-CV coal out of South Africa,which has already been tight in supply recently.

Platts assessed the FOB Richards Bay , 5,500 kcal/kg NAR, 7-45 day price at$84.45/mt, down 45 cents on day but up $2.85 on week.

--Piers De Wilde,