May 28, 2019 Read More →

U.S. coal exports down 7.7% in first quarter compared to same period in 2018

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

Following a strong export market in 2018, U.S. coal producers shipped about 7.7% less coal abroad year over year during the first quarter of 2019 as thermal coal pricing into Europe declined.

U.S. coal miners shipped 23 million tonnes of coal to other nations during the first three months of the year, an 11.9% decrease from the fourth quarter of 2018, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. India was the top destination, with nearly 4 million tonnes of coal arriving in the subcontinent during the period, a 14.9% decrease from the first quarter of 2018.

Ports in the Netherlands that serve as the initial point of entry for many U.S. coal shipments to the European market received more coal than India in the fourth quarter of 2018 but ranked second during the recent period. Though much of Western Europe is moving away from coal-fired generation and the API2 benchmark, which tracks the price of thermal coal sold into Europe, dropped significantly, European imports of U.S. coal through the Netherlands rose by 44.8% year over year to 2.9 million tonnes.

Gregory Marmon, a senior research analyst at Wood Mackenzie, said in an interview that the increase in European imports may reflect the contracts signed six months ago, but he expects imports to the continent to normalize given Europe’s lessening demand for coal.

Arch Coal Inc. President and COO Paul Lang said its 2019 exports will be down by about 1 million tons year over year, most of which will come from its thermal business, following the drop in thermal pricing. Alliance Resource Partners LP is also delaying the growth of its Illinois Basin operations, a move that is expected to reduce planned volumes by nearly 1 million tons in 2019.

More ($): U.S. Q1’19 coal exports decline 7.7% YOY following strong 2018 global market

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