The US has seen an increase in coal production and consumption during Q3 from Q2, while exports and imports have decreased. Total production and consumption figures remain lower than they were one year ago.
US coal production
According to the quarterly coal report released by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), coal production in Q3 made gains on the previous quarter, but was just short of Q3 2012 production levels. Total US coal production in Q3 2013 stood at 256.7 million short t, about 5.6% higher than Q2 2013 production levels, but 0.9% down on Q3 2012 production.
US coal consumption rose by 17.1% from Q2 2013, from 216.5 million short t to a total of 253.4 million short t in Q3 2013. Compared to Q3 2012, consumption remained fairly constant, with a decline of just 0.2% from 254 million short t consumed in Q3 2012. 93.6% of the US coal was consumed by the electric power sector.
Exports and imports
US coal exports have continued to decrease. Total exports in Q3 were 28.6 million short t, which represented a decline of 2.8% from Q2 levels, and a decrease of 9.4% from Q3 2012 levels. While metallurgical coal exports totalled 15.9 million short t (1.3% lower than Q2 2013), thermal coal exports totalled 12.7 million short t (4.8% lower than Q2). The average price of US coal exports during Q3 2013 was US$ 91.64/short t.
Coal imports into the US have also decreased – offset by the increase in production. Imported coal to the US was sourced from Colombia (73.2%), as well as from Canada (14%), and Indonesia (7.8%). Q3 imports decreased to 2.4 million short t, from 2.8 million short t in Q2.
Coal stockpiles decrease
High inventories and stockpiles of coal have been in part responsible for the subdued coal prices in the US. However, coal stockpiles in the US fell to 199.7 million short t in Q3 2013, from 219.3 million short t at the end of Q2 2013 (a decline of 8.9%). According to the US EIA, this decline can be attributed to lower consumer stocks (primarily in the electric power sector), which fell to 159.6 million short t from 177.5 million short t at the end of Q2 2013.
Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson
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