Thirteen EU countries have already handed out their 2014 quota of free emissions allowances, the European Commission said on Friday.
A total of 499m free EU allowances (EUAs) have been distributed to industrial operators.
The maximum number carbon permits that all EU states can receive in 2014 is 821m.
Germany, the state with the largest free EUA request, started distributing the permits to operators on Thursday and wrapped up the process by Friday, a spokeswoman from the emissions authority Deutsche Emissionshandelsstelle said on Monday.
Other countries that have already allocated large handouts include France, the Netherlands and the UK. The deadline for doing so was the end of February.
EUA prices were a little bearish as industrials have the option to sell the free permits and bring supply into the market.
The benchmark December ’14 EUA contract traded just below €7/tonne of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) during mid-afternoon London time on Monday, compared to €7.20/tCO2e at Friday’s close.
Most industrial companies are not expected to sell off their surplus allowances however, analysts previously said. Carbon prices are forecast to rise in coming years and any spare permits could therefore be sold for more at a later date ( see EDCM 31 January 2014 ).
Many countries have not handed out their maximum number of free permits, with most nations falling 2-6% below the limit. Hungary, however, is 39% below its quota ceiling.
As with the 2013 handout, the difference may be because some installations that have closed, changed level of production or not yet opened accounts in the EU Transaction Log may not have received permits (see separate story today).
The commission will be providing regular updates on the status of 2014 allocations. Ben Lee