Coal on the rocks

Faced with liquidity problems, falling volumes and uncertainty over the accuracy of price data, coal trading has had many of the same difficulties as the natural gas and power sectors over the past year. How can it get back on its feet, asks Kevin Foster


The over-the-counter coal market has suffered a steep drop in trading volumes as the energy merchant firms that drove the market cut back their trading operations. The size of the market is hard to gauge, but brokers we contacted put it at 100–200 million tonnes a year, a significant decrease in volumes from 12–24 months ago.

Tom Hiemstra, vice-president of coal services at broker Evolution Markets in New York, says that a year ago only about 10–15% of coal traded on the OTC

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