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Last Updated: Monday, 4 February 2008, 15:38 GMT
Coal prices surge to record high
Coal fire
Coal prices have soared after production problems in China
Coal prices have soared to a record after serious disruptions at some the world's most important coal producers.

The benchmark price in Asia jumped 25% to $116 a tonne.

Last month, China, the world's biggest coal producer, said it would halt exports in February and March due to the worst snow in decades.

Power shortages in South Africa have disrupted mining there and in Australia heavy flooding has caused serious problems for several mining companies.

Supplies running low

According to one trader, "supply is so tight at the moment that users just have to pay whatever producers are asking, and if they sit around and wait, they will either have to fork out even higher prices or be told there is no more tonnage available".

Asian electricity producers are now scrambling to secure coal.

Indonesia, the world's biggest coal exporter, says most of its output for 2008 is already sold.

Stocks at South Korean utilities have fallen to less than two weeks worth of supplies, according to reports.

The Philippines state electricity company is struggling to source coal due to high prices.

MARKET DATA - 11:37 UK

FTSE 100
5428.78up
22.84 0.42%
Dax
5732.06up
18.55 0.32%
Cac 40
3783.91up
14.37 0.38%
Dow Jones
10403.79up
78.53 0.76%
Nasdaq
2273.57up
35.31 1.58%
Data delayed by at least 15 minutes


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