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US coal production and exports down in Q4 2018

The latest Quarterly Coal Report (QCR) from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), released this month, showed a slight decline in US coal production.

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Preliminary data showed US coal production during Q4 2018 totalled 192.4 million short tons (MMst), 1.1% lower than the previous quarter and 0.8% lower than Q4 2017.


Production in the Western Region, which accounted for about 56.7% of total US coal production in Q4 2018, totalled about 109 MMst (0.9% higher in Q4 2017).

US coal exports in Q4 2018 (28.5 MMst) decreased by 2.1% from Q3 2018. The average price of US coal exports during Q4 2018 was US$108.58 per short ton.


The US continued to import coal primarily from Colombia (70.5%), Canada (12.4%), and Indonesia (12.3%). No imports were recorded from Australia in Q4 2018. US coal imports in Q4 2018 totalled 1.6 MMst. The average price of US coal imports during Q4 2018 was US$83.07 per short ton.


Steam coal exports totalled 13.3 MMst (8.6% lower than Q3 2018), while metallurgical coal exports totalled 15.2 MMst (4.5% higher than Q3 2018).


US coal consumption totalled 169.1 MMst in Q4 2018, which was 12.9% lower than the 194.1 MMst reported in Q3 2018 and 2.2% lower than the 172.8 MMst reported in Q4 2017. The electric power generating sector accounted for about 92.2% of the total US coal consumption in Q4 2018.


Q4 2018 coal stocks grew to 132.1 MMst from 129.3 MMst at the end of Q3 2018 (a 2.2% increase). Stocks in the electric power sector increased to 102.8 MMst from 100.8 MMst at the end of Q3 2018, the first increase since the end of Q4 2016.


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