COAL PRODUCTION AND PRICE UPDATE

            According to the latest information from the U.S. Energy Information Agency, coal production in the United States fell by 5.5 percent for the week ending August 30 compared to the same time last year. Production for the week stood at 19.2 million tons compared to 20.3 million tons in 2013.
            Coal production for the 52 weeks ending August 30 was also off by 1.8 percent, from 993 million tons in 2013 to 974 million tons this year.  This reduced production was reflected in the number of rail cars loaded, which fell by 7.1 percent year over year, from 86,674 cars loaded in 2013 to 84,719 cars in 2014.
            U.S. exports of metallurgical coal continued to see a substantial rise, up 23.7 percent in the month of June as compared to the same month in 2013. However, the annualized export numbers remain 4.9 percent less than last year.  U.S. steam coal exports continued to trend downward, falling 37.3 percent for the month of June, from 4.5 million tons in 2013 to just 2.8 million tons this year.
            Meanwhile imports were up by 8.7 percent for the month, from 1.21 million in 2013 to 1.32 million in 2014. Overall, imports for the first six months of 2014 were up 42.8 percent from 2013.
            Electric output was down percent 3 percent for the week ending August 30 compared to the same week in 2013. Steel production was up 3 percent for the week ending August 30.
            West Virginia’s coal production continued to be off by about 2.1 percent year-over-year. For the 52 weeks ending August 30, West Virginia production was approximately 112 million tons, off from 115 million tons in 2013. Production in northern West Virginia was up 6.5 percent, from 42 million in 2013 to 45 million in 2014, however southern West Virginia was off by 7.1 percent, from 72.9 million tons in 2013 to 67.7 million tons in 2014.
Central Appalachian coal was selling on the spot market for $56.35, unchanged from last week. Meanwhile Northern Appalachian coal was selling for $62.75 per ton, also unchanged from last week.  Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub rose to just above $4.00 per million btu – still well below its $8 per million btu peak of January and February.
            Also, utilities in the northeast U.S. reported as of June 2014 their stockpiles of bituminous coal are down to approximately 41 days of burn with their stocks of sub-bituminous coal down to 27 days. This is a 30 percent reduction of stockpiles from May of last year for bituminous coal and 24 percent for sub-bituminous. Meanwhile, in the southeast, utilities are reporting stockpiles of bituminous coal at 48 days and sub-bituminous at 39 days. This is down from 77 and 51 days, respectively, last year, a drop of 37 percent and 10 percent, respectively.  Midwest utilities report a lesser reduction in their stocks, off 13 percent for bituminous and 27 percent for sub-bituminous.

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