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US coal production recovers slightly

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World Coal,

US coal production has strengthened a little over recent weeks with the most recent production estimates from the Energy Information Administration showing a 4% rise in production for the week ending 4 June compared to the week previous.

And although production was 20.7% down on the same week a year before, that is significantly better than the over-30% year on year falls that were the story until recently.

Overall, US year-to-date production was 29.8% lower than the comparable production last year as 276.5 million short t. Yet this has closed the gap somewhat: for most of the year, coal production has been over a third down on 2015.

Regionally, Kentucky continues to far the worst in terms of a percentage decline – 35.8% or almost 10 million short t down on last year. West Virginian production was down 32.4% year to date – although here there is a big divide between northern and southern areas of the state.

In northern West Virginia, coal production is down just 25.1% year-to-date, while southern West Virginian production is down 39%. Meanwhile, Wyoming – home to most of the Powder River Basin production – is down 32.3% year-to-date.

Interior Region production – which includes the Illinois Basin – is the strongest performer this year, down just 23.8% on last year.

Railcar loadings remained subdued at 32.7% down year-to-date.

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