T.L. Headley, West Virginia Coal Association.
According to the latest report from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) and the National Mining Association (NMA), coal production in the US was down by slightly less than 1.4 million short t for the week ending 14 March, compared to the same time last year. Production for the week stood at 19.88 million short t compared to 18.51 million short t for the same week in 2014. Cumulative production for the year-to-date is also down at 192.68 million short t compared to 197.11 million short t last year.
There was a significant decrease in the number of rail car loadings, down 5.5% for the week from the same period last year. Railcar loadings are also down 1.4% year-to-date.
Exports for the month of January 2015, were down substantially, with exports of metallurgical coal off 2.4% and thermal coal exports off 16.9% from the previous January. Meanwhile, imports were up 21.5% in January compared to last year.
Electric output was down for the week – by 0.6% for the week ending 14 March – and remains down slightly (-0.1%) year-to-date. Steel output continued its sharp decline for the week, down 13.1% for the week at 1.6 million short t produced. Steel production remains down year-to-date to 18.28 million short t produced, compared to 19.11 million short t last year. A decline in steel production is considered a leading indicator of the broader economy; the continued declines in steel production usually translate into declines in durable goods orders.
US regional coal production
Looking at regional coal production, Appalachian production was up slightly for the week – to 5.07 million short t from 4.78 million short t last week. Interior Basin production was also up for the week – coming in at 3.47 million short t from 3.27 million short t last week. Western production also increased this week, to 9.98 million short t from 9.42 million short t last week.
All three regions continued to show increased production for the previous 52 weeks ending 14 March. For the 52-week period, Appalachia production was up slightly – to 268.09 million short t from 268.07 million short t in 2014. Interior Basin production was also up — by 1.7%, at 186.82 million short t from 182.70 million short t for the same period ending in 2014. Meanwhile, Western production was up 1.2%, to 535.74 million short t from 529.26 million short t in 2014.
According to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training, coal production in the state for 2015 (reported through 12 March) stands at 13.07 million short t year-to-date, with 9.9 million short t produced underground and 3.2 million short t produced through surface operations (the West Virginia Coal Association is uncertain as to the reason for the discrepancy). A total of 121 mines in the state have now reported production in January, although it is important to note that not all reports are in and the number of producing mines may be substantially higher than that number.?Production for other key coal-producing states is being reported once again by the EIA.
Coal production in Kentucky for the week ending 14 March ticked down to 1.44 million short t compared to 1.58 short t for the same week in 2014, with the state seeing declines in both its eastern and western fields. Meanwhile, coal production in Kentucky is off by 2% for the previous 52 weeks.
Wyoming coal production also ticked down for the week to 7.2 million short t, off from 7.8 million short t in 2014. For the year, Wyoming production is up slightly (0.4%).
Illinois production is also down for the week, coming in at 1.07 million short t compared to 1.15 short t for the same period in 2014. Indiana production, likewise, is down slightly, coming in at 736,000 short t compared to 800,000 short t in 2014. Pennsylvania production for the week is also down slightly, to 1.25 million short t versus 1.26 million short t for the same week in 2014. And Ohio production is off – to 396,000 short t compared to 450,000 short t in 2014.
Virginia production ticked up this week – to 293,000 short t compared to 277,000 short t last week, but is off substantially compared to the same week in 2014, which saw production of 334,000 short t. Virginia production for the previous 52 weeks is off by 6.8%.
Coal prices on the spot market held steady again this week. Central Appalachian coal remains at US$53.06/short t. Northern Appalachian coal remains at US$61.15/short t. Illinois Basin coal prices held at US$40.32/short t, while Powder River Basin and Uinta Basin coal prices also held steady – at US$11.55/short t and US$38.13/short t respectively.
Utilities did not issue updates to their stockpile reports once again this week.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldcoal.com/mining/23032015/us-coal-production-drops-year-on-year-in-week-ending-14-march-coal2100/