Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"Chinese endure power shortages as coal runs short" Coincidentally: "Demand For Patriot Coal Call Options Ablaze As Shares Soar" (PCX)

From CTV (Can.):
SHANGHAI — Communities in central and northern China are facing power cuts and rationing as winter coal supplies fall short of surging demand.

Cold weather and transport disruptions typically cause shortages most years, but the problem has been complicated by coal producers' unhappiness over price controls that are crimping their profits.
China's State Grid, the government power provider, said in reports seen Monday on its websites that recent winter storms had pushed demand higher while worsening traffic bottlenecks, hindering coal deliveries.
Phone calls to the State Grid's branches in central China's Henan, Shanxi, Shaanxi, Chongqing and Hubei provinces -- the areas reportedly worst affected -- rang unanswered Monday.

China depends on coal for more than three-quarters of its electricity and also to fuel centralized winter heating systems in northern cities. Spates of unusually cold weather often strain supplies, with power rationing not uncommon.

About 620,000 households were left without power due to bad weather in Zhejiang, a province west of Shanghai, a report on the State Grid website said. It said power was being restored.

Coal suppliers have also held back on shipments to power companies because contract prices for coal are below market prices, a chronic problem in this state-dominated economy. China has had similar troubles in maintaining supplies of gasoline and diesel fuel, as refiners balked at selling at below-market prices....MORE
And from Options Insider:

PCX – Patriot Coal Corp.
Coal-calls are a hot commodity today with shares in Patriot Coal Corp. soaring 6.85% higher this afternoon to touch an intraday high of $18.71. The fourth-largest eastern U.S. coal producer was rated new ‘market outperform’ with a 12-month target share price of $25.00 at Howard Weil today, and was upped to ‘outperform’ from ‘market perform’ with a 12-month target price of $21.00 at FBR Capital Markets yesterday, on optimism regarding economic recovery.

Investors positioning for Patriot’s shares to continue their run picked up more than 5,300 calls at the January 2011 $19 strike for an average premium of $0.70 each. Call buyers start making money if Patriot Coal’s shares surge 5.3% over today’s high of $18.71 to exceed the average breakeven price of $19.70 by January expiration. The surge in demand for call options on the stock helped lift Patriot’s overall reading of options implied volatility 7.7% to 49.32% by 12:40pm....