16 de mayo de 2014 / 16:30 / en 4 años

EURO COAL-Prices dip on low summer demand outlook, cheaper gas

* Mining major Vale closes loss-making Australian coal mine

* UK gas prices fall to 3-year low on fading Ukraine supply fears

LONDON, May 16 (Reuters) - European physical coal prices dipped on Friday as warm weather across Europe pulled down energy demand, and cheaper gas forced coal producers to reduce their offers.

Cargoes for delivery in June to Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Antwerp (ARA) were trading at $73.00 a tonne, around 15 cents below their last close.

In the futures market, API2 2015 coal contracts were down 20 cents to $82.80 a tonne.

“Demand is dropping towards the lowest possible levels in industrialised markets as its now too warm across Europe to heat but still not hot enough to require cooling, so that’s pulling down orders and prices,” one coal trader said.

Weak demand in Europe, but also in Asia, is clashing with oversupply that has pulled down coal prices over 40 percent in the last three years.

Low prices are now squeezing production margins in many places, especially in Australia, where labour costs are particularly high.

Brazilian mining giant Vale said on Friday it plans to close its Integra coal mine in Australia because it is losing money, the latest in company efforts to row back from non-core overseas assets.

CHEAPER GAS

Traders said a weakening gas market in Europe was also weighing on the coal market.

British spot gas prices fell to a three-year low on Friday as ample supply and warm weather outweighed fears of possible cuts in Russian supplies via Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to shut off supply to Ukraine if it fails to pay its outstanding bills, although energy minister Alexander Novak said on Friday a compromise between Kiev and Moscow was possible.

State-run exporter Gazprom has demanded that Ukraine pay in advance for gas for June after its debt for Russian gas topped $3.5 billion.

Russia supplies around a third of Europe’s gas demand, sending almost half of it via Ukraine. (Reporting by Henning Gloystein, editing by David Evans)

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