According to the latest information from the U.S. Energy Information Agency, coal production in the United States fell by 400,000 tons for the week ending August 9 compared to the same time last year. Production for the week stood at 19.2 million tons compared to 19.6 million tons in 2013.

Coal production for the 52 weeks ending August 9 was also off by 1.6 percent, from 993 million tons in 2013 to 977 million tons this year.  This reduced production was reflected in the number of rail cars loaded, which fell from 6,060,769 cars loaded in 2013 to 5,996,869 cars in 2014.


Exports of metallurgical coal saw a substantial rise – up 23.7 percent for the month of June as compared to the same month in 2013. However, the annualized export numbers remain down 4.9 percent from last year.  Steam coal exports were hit sharply, down 37.3 percent for the month of June, from 4.5 million tons in 2013 to 2.8 million tons this year.

Meanwhile imports were up by 8.7 percent for the month, from 1.2 million in 2013 to 1.3 million in 2014. Overall, imports for the first six months of 2014 were up 42.8 percent from 2013.

Electric output was down by 0.6 percent, however steel production was up 2 percent for the week ending August 9.

In West Virginia, coal production was down 2.4 percent for the 52 weeks ending August 9, from 115 million tons in 2013 to just 112 million tons in 2014. Production in northern West Virginia was up by 6.7 percent however, from just 42 million in 2013 to 45 million in 2014. Production in southern West Virginia was off by 7.6 percent, from 73 million tons in 2013 to 68 million tons in 2014. 

Central Appalachian coal was selling on the spot market for $56.35 a ton. Meanwhile Northern Appalachian coal was selling for $62.75 per ton.  Natural gas prices on the Henry Hub was essentially stable at about approximately $3.75 per million btu – well below its $8 per million btu peak of January and February, during the “Arctic Vortex.”

Also, utilities in the northeast U.S. report as of May 2014 their stockpiles of bituminous coal are down to approximately 39 days of burn with their stocks of subbituminous coal down to 38 days. This is a 37 percent reduction of stockpiles from May of last year for bituminous coal and 11.8 percent for subbituminous. Meanwhile, in the southeast, utilities are reporting stockpiles of bituminous coal at 51 days and subbituminous at 42 days. This is down from 77 and 51 days respectively last year, a drop of 37 percent and 19 percent respectively.  Midwest utilities report a lesser reduction in their stocks, off 13 percent for bituminous and 23 percent for subbituminous.

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