European coal prices could extend recent six-month highs, with the market still looking to competing gas for direction amid otherwise ample supply and tepid demand, according to Laurence Walker, commodity and energy markets journalist for Montel.

“The front-month API 2 contract was last down $1.15 on the previous settlement at $139/mt, on Ice Futures,” Walker said. “Earlier, it revisited Friday’s [October 13] six-month high of $140.50/mt.”

A coal trader with a Swiss trading house attributed the wider bullishness to a “war risk premium for the whole energy complex.”

This was regarding concerns that escalating conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas could jeopardize fuel supply from — or via — the region, with the trader pointing particularly to the possibility of disruptions to LNG and coal traffic via the Suez Canal.

The front-month API 2 contract could face some bullish momentum over the coming days, said Montel’s head of technical analysis, Tom Hovik. “The market could approach its next resistance level of around $150.55/mt,” he said.

On the supply front, coal imports to Europe could ease amid low river levels hampering inland barge shipments to German power plants. “Currently, we have more requests for train loads, as customers have trouble getting enough tonnage in barges,” Montel reported.

Walker said Northwest European thermal coal imports in November were likely to decline by a marginal 100,000 mt from last month’s total, to around 2.2 million mt.