ICE Coal Futures stop three-month decline by jumping 66%

ICE Coal Futures halted a three-month decline to tick up 66% on-month to 125.46 million mt worth of coal contracts traded and cleared during May, energy exchange ICE Futures Europe and electronic trading platform globalCOAL said late Friday.

This is a 55% increase from May last year when 80,833 lots were traded and cleared. The large increase in May was attributed primarily to a surge of interest in the ICE Rotterdam Coal Futures contract, which at 96.04 million mt almost reached the record high of 99.68 million mt traded and cleared in January this year.

The May ICE Rotterdam Coal Futures total jumped 74% on-month and 49.8% on-year. The volume of ICE Richards Bay Coal Futures also climbed 55% on-month to 21.36 million mt, a 207.8% increase from May 2011, and at 8,062 lots, the amount of ICE Newcastle Coal Futures rose 23% from April and 23.5% on-year.

The firms noted in their ICE coal futures monthly report that this is only the fourth time in the history of the portfolio that monthly volumes have exceeded 125 million mt, including a record 146,445 lots in April 2010, 135,974 lots in January 2012 and 129,643 lots in March 2011.

Platts previously reported the January total at 125,750 lots, although globalCOAL revised the total in February to include an additional 10,224 lots of Rotterdam options traded during January. The companies said that open interest in the contracts improved over the month, reaching a record 144,916 lots on May 28 before falling back to the 137 million mt level by the end of the month, which was still a 5% rise from the April close.