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EIA cuts 2014 US coal demand

World Coal,

In its short-term Energy Outlook, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) has revised most of its 2014 projections for the US coal sector. The EIA has based its decision to lower forecasts on weak electricity demand in the US, combined with oversupply in global seaborne markets.

The agency said it expects US coal consumption to be 951 million short t in 2014, compared with a June projection of 961 million short t. The July figure is still up 2.8% compared with 2013 consumption of 925 million short t.

In 2015, the EIA projects US coal consumption will dip to 924.4 million short t, due to retirements of coal-fired power plants, slow electricity sales growth and lower natural gas prices.

Due to higher coal burn in 2014, the agency forecasts 2014 US coal production will total 1.011 billion short t, although that latest prediction is down 0.6% from a June estimate of 1.017 billion short t. The revised production figure, however, is a 1.5% increase from 996 million short t produced in 2013.

The agency now expects 2015 production will total 1.002 billion short t, down from its previous month projection of 1.009 billion short t.

The EIA also suggested coal prices will increase in 2014, though not substantially. The agency did not provide a reason for the rise in prices, although coal prices have fallen in 2012 and 2013.

Projected coal exports for 2014, meanwhile, remain unchanged from the EIA’s June outlook. The agency expect coal exports to total 99 million short t over the year.

On a historical basis, US coal exports peaked at roughly 126 million short t in 2012, and totaled 118 million short t in 2013.

The agency cites slowing world demand and increased output from other coal exporting nations for the decline in US coal exports for the next two years. The US coal industry, however, expects growing Asian demand to bolster US exports in later years.

Edited from various sources by Sam Dodson

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