PARIS, July 5 (Reuters) - The German forward electricity contract for next-year delivery hit its highest level since late February supported by the rally in coal prices, while day-ahead spot prices posted slight gains on steady demand and lower wind power generation.
* The benchmark German Cal '18 for next year-delivery rose to a 4.5 months high of 31.40 euros ($35.55) per megawatt-hour (MWh) early on Wednesday before retreating to 31.30 euros/MWh, up 0.3 percent.
* Coal-fired power generation accounts for more than 40 percent of German electricity production.
* In France, where over 75 percent of electricity is produced from nuclear generation, the equivalent French year-ahead contract rose 0.1 percent to 37.10 euros/MWh.
* Coal cif North Europe gained 0.1 percent to $71.70 per tonne, its highest since November 2016.
* Georgi Slavov, head of research at Marex Spectron said supply in the Atlantic region was ample, but was tight in Pacific due to low export volumes from Australia and import arbitrage in China where a ban had made it more profitable for utilities to buy coal from abroad than locally.
* Related carbon pollution rights, which electricity generators must hold for their output, fell 0.2 percent to 5.11 euros a tonne.
* In the day-ahead spot electricity market, the German baseload contract for Thursday delivery added 0.6 percent or 25 cents to 39.10 euros/MWh.
* The French Thursday delivery price gained 2.27 percent to 45 euros/MWh.
* Electricity production from German wind turbines remains low, supporting prices despite a slight rise in solar output. Wind generation will fall by 730 megawatts (MW) on Thursday to 1.2 GW, according to Thomson Reuters data.
* Solar power availability will rise by 780 MW to 7.8 GW.
* German demand is expected to remain stable around 70 GW, the data show, while the average temperature will rise by 2.1 degrees Celsius.
* In France, consumption will rise by 890 MW on Thursday to 48.8 GW, while the average temperature will climb by nearly 2 degrees.
* French nuclear availably is also expected to rise from 60 percent of capacity with five EDF reactors expected to resume production on Wednesday.
* In eastern Europe, the Czech contract for Thursday added over 4 percent to 39.80 euros/MWh, the year-ahead 2018 contract rose 1.4 percent to 32.10 euros/MWh. ($1 = 0.8832 euros) (Reporting by Bate Felix and Vera Eckert; Editing by Edmund Blair)