CHARLESTON – Coal remained the state’s leading export and the West Virginia remained the nation’s top coal exporting state in the nation in 2013 according to data just released by the West Virginia Department of Commerce.
In 2013, West Virginia’s exported approximately $4.4 billion of coal to nations around the world. However, West Virginia’s coal exports declined by 40 percent from their 2012 levels due to the decline in demand resulting from the decline of the world’s economy. Still, coal accounted for more than half the state’s total exports in 2013.
The total value of West Virginia exports exceeded $8.4 billion in 2013, according to figures released from the U.S. Census Bureau.
“The economies of China, Japan and India, three of our Top 10 markets in 2012 have suffered a decline in growth this past year and as a result we have seen our exports to those countries drop,” said Bill Raney, president of the West Virginia Coal Association. “China, which was our fourth largest market in 2012 and Japan, which was our 9th largest market that year, fell out of our Top 10 markets completely while exports to India saw a sharp decline of 62 percent. Also, our exports to Brazil were off by 32 percent.
“On a positive note, we almost doubled our exports to Mexico and Morocco, somewhat off-setting the loss we saw in much of the rest of the world,” Raney added. “We hope to see the trends reverse in 2014 and beyond. The predictions are that coal will overtake oil as the world’s top energy commodity and economists are predicting growth of energy demand worldwide through 2040. We believe West Virginia is well-positioned to capitalize on that growth. The world markets know the high quality of West Virginia’s coal both for steam and steel production. So while last year was a bit of a struggle, we continue to see exports as a bright spot for our state’s coal industry.”
The 2013 figures export values represent the third highest export value in the state’s history. In 2012, the state broke its previous performance records with $11.3 billion in exports.
“The export of $8.4 billion in West Virginia products contributed greatly to our overall economic growth in 2013,” said Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. “During the past three years, the total value of West Virginia’s exports exceeds $28 billion. I commend our state’s exporters for their continued success in global markets.”
The top 10 export markets for West Virginia coal are:
West Virginia remains the leading coal exporting state, with 39 percent of U.S. coal exports. The top 10 coal exporting states in 2013 are: