* ARA coal for May delivery traded at $79/T
* Richards Bay coal for April traded at $74.25/T
LONDON, March 31 (Reuters) - European physical coal prices for May delivery edged up on Monday on the back of a modest pick-up in demand from utilities.
Cargoes for delivery in May to the ports of Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp (ARA) traded at $79 a tonne, up $0.90 from Friday’s settlement.
“We have seen some increased demand for the May contract from utilities. I don’t see any particular reason, but utilities usually start ramping up their hedging at this time of year,” a coal trader said.
Some 50,000 tonnes of May ARA coal had traded by 1530 GMT, according to data on online trading platform globalCOAL.
The April and June ARA contracts had not traded by 1530 GMT.
Traders said the market was still weak after a mild winter has left Europe’s coal stocks relatively high and that a warm start to spring was further limiting demand.
The threat of increased supply from Colombia also weighed on the market, traders said.
Exports from Drummond, Colombia’s second-biggest coal miner, have been on hold since January when the government shut down the firm’s port due to environmental concerns.
Drummond said in an email on Friday that work on the port would finish by the end of March. A source close to the company said on Monday that Drummond could be ready to start loading for export later in the day.
Meanwhile, South African coal cargoes for delivery in April from the Richards Bay terminal traded at $74.25 a tonne, up $0.25 cents on Friday’s close. (Reporting by Susanna Twidale, additional reporting by Helen Murphy in Bogota; editing by Jane Baird)