LONDON - European Union carbon emissions futures barely moved after a small German permit auction on Wednesday, but traders warned a UK auction on Thursday could push prices lower.
EU Allowances for December delivery were down 27 cents or 2.13 percent to 12.43 euros ($17.85) a tonne at 1509 GMT, with volume at 3,760 lots.
The market has not reacted but today's auction was small. The bigger, British one tomorrow could impact prices, said an emissions trader.
EUAs touched a new six and a half month low on Wednesday but recovered to around two-week lows after players supported prices, traders said.
EUAs fell as low as 12.28 euros in morning trade, a level last hit on December 21 after U.N. climate talks failed to deliver a binding agreement.
EUAs last traded below that level on June 23, 2009.
We could touch that again today or tomorrow. For now, there was a lot of support at 12.28, an emissions trader said.
Germany auctioned around 300,000 EUA futures at 1400 GMT on Wednesday and the UK government will auction of a revised total of 4.9 million spot EUAs on Thursday.
These could put more pressure on prices because the market is already 'long' in EUAs, they said.
Carbon is adjusting to the introduction of German auctions, and with this in effect the market will see three days where EUAs will enter the market and many players will be looking to dump them, another trader said.
Industrial companies with surplus EUAs due to reduced output during the economic downturn are expected to sell those permits heavily in the coming weeks.
There is no real industrial selling yet, a trader noted.
Spot EUAs on France's BlueNext exchange were down 2.48 percent to 12.20 euros a tonne with light volume at 776 lots.
Last February, heavy selling from industrial companies with surplus credits forced prices down to nearly 8 euros a tonne.
Some market players believe a continued European cold snap, which has stimulated the need for more carbon permits to cover emissions, could prevent prices from falling that low.
German Calendar 2011 baseload power was down 35 cents or 0.67 percent to 51.85 euros per megawatt hour.
U.S. oil remained below $82 a barrel on Wednesday after unexpectedly bearish U.S. inventory data on Tuesday, ending a 9-day rally that saw U.S. crude futures rise 14 percent on a mix of cold weather and geopolitical jitters.
U.N.-backed certified emissions reductions were down 22 cents or 1.98 percent to 10.90 euros a tonne.
(Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by xxx)