West Virginia coal production rebounded from the Thanksgiving holiday week, with in-state production increasing +5.5% week over week: +8% in the NAPP region of the state and +2.7% in the state’s CAPP region. National coal production increased week over week by +9.5%, with production from the entire NAPP thermal region increasing by +7.2%. Implied national met production increased by +6% from the previous week. Year to date, West Virginia coal production is off by -29.1% from last year: -24.8% in the NAPP region of the state and -33.5% in the state’s CAPP region. National coal production is down by -24.3% from last year: -29.2% in the Appalachian region, -29.9% in the Interior basin and -20% in the Western region. Coal production from the entire NAPP thermal region is off by -28% compared to last year and implied national met production is down -27% from last year.
Appalachian thermal coal prices increased from the previous week: +3% for NAPP coal and +3.1% for CAPP thermal coal. Illinois Basin pricing was unchanged and prices decreased by -0.4% for Powder River Basin coal and -0.3% for Western Bituminous coal. Average natural gas prices increased by 17% from the previous week (+$0.40).
U.S. iron and steel production increased week over week by +1.1% with furnace capacity utilization increasing by 1.1%. Year to date, domestic steel production is off by -18.2% and capacity utilization is down by almost 16% compared to last year.
National electric generation increased from the previous week by +11.6%. Output in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions increased by almost 13% week over week. Generation in the Central Industrial region increased by 12%.
U.S. rail traffic also rebounded from the Thanksgiving holiday week by almost +20%. Coal loadings increased by +9%, Finished steel and steel raw materials increased by +5.6% week over week, auto parts and finished auto carloads increased by +37%.
The U.S. Commerce Department released the latest U.S. coal export data (October) last week. Met coal exports declined by 3% from September. Thermal coal exports declined by 6% month over month. Year to date, U.S. exports of metallurgical coal are down by -26.3% and thermal coal exports are off by -36.5% from last year. Average met coal export prices increased from September by 4% (+$3.78/ton) while average thermal coal export prices fell by -5.4% (-$3.50/ton) from the previous month.
The World Steel Association published global iron and steel production data for October earlier this week. Steel production continued to increase month over month in most of West Virginia’s primary met coal markets: +10% in Europe, +7.2% in North America, +8.3% in South America, +6.3% in India, +11% in Japan, +0.4% in South Korea and +0.1% in Ukraine. Excluding China, global steel production increased from September by +9.2%. Chinese iron and steel production decreased by -0.3% from September. Year to date, iron and steel production is off -12.7% in Europe, -29.8% in North America, -13% in South America, -18% in India, -18% in Japan, -6.7% in South Korea and -5.4% in Ukraine compared to last year. Excluding Chinese production, total global iron and steel production is off by almost 14% compared to 2019. Chinese production is up +5.4% compared to last year.