European carbon futures ended unchanged on Tuesday as traders were given little impetus by lawmakers or wider market fundamentals to open larger positions, despite EU president Latvia saying an earlier MSR start date would be “difficult”.
The benchmark Dec-15 EUA contract on ICE Futures Europe settled at €6.84 on volume of more than 12.3 million units traded.
Prices hit their intraday low of €6.76 in the first few minutes of trade before hovering between €6.80 and €6.85 through most of the morning.
They then rose to test their session high of €6.92 several times between 1100 and 1200 GMT, before sliding back in the afternoon.
“It looks pretty thick … There’s no momentum and traders are just pushing it around,” one trader said.
Another said the bellwether futures seem to have found a new trading range between €6.75 and €7.00 this week, down from the €7.00-7.25 channel seen last week.
Tuesday’s EU allowance auction cleared at €6.77 – the lowest level in four weeks and 2 cents under market.
The sale attracted bids worth 8.8 million units, the most since Mar. 20, which came from 22 bidders, the highest level in 2.5 months, but those figures failed to spur interest.
“Sometimes it takes that little to get people buying, but the market seems indifferent at the moment,” the first trader added.
Meanwhile, European coal prices edged higher, but their impact on dark spreads was offset by a firmer euro.
EU environment and energy ministers are meeting in Riga for an informal council meeting over Tuesday to Thursday, though there are no formal discussions due on the MSR.
An official from EU presidency holder Latvia, which is chairing talks between national governments, admitted Tuesday that it would be difficult to achieve the required support for an earlier MSR start than 2021.
“The starting date is a divisive issue in the Council and it will be quite difficult to move … We have to check if there’s flexibility, though it’s probably limited” Alda Ozola, Latvia’s deputy state secretary for environment, told Bloomberg.
She said it would be more difficult to get a common negotiating position to resume trilogue talks with the EU Parliament and Commission than last month. Germany is pushing for an earlier start but a Poland-led blocking minority has ruled it out.
The next MSR trilogues are due May 5 and May 26.