Friday, August 12, 2011
US coal exports on pace to hit 107mn st this year
Washington, 11 August — June's US coal exports reached their second-highest level of the year despite coking coal volumes falling slightly from May.
Total exports increased 23pc to 9.1mn short tons (8.3mn metric tonnes) from 7.39mn st in June 2010 and marked a slight gain from 9.04mn st in May, according to US Census Bureau data released today. US exports for the first half of the year rose to 53.6mn st, up 35pc from 39.7mn st in the year-ago period to set an annualized pace of 107mn st.
In 2010, US exports totaled 81.7mn st, the Census reports.
While coking coal again accounted for the majority of total coal exports, the segment fell month to month to 5.79mn st in June from 6.43mn st in May. In contrast, shipments of all steam coal types, including anthracite, bituminous, lignite, non-bituminous steam coals and sub-bituminous coals, rose to 3.31mn st in June from 2.61mn st in May.
Among the six major US ports where coal is shipped, the Norfolk Census district saw the largest amount of shipments at 3.25mn st, although coal exports from Norfolk actually declined for the third consecutive month.
June exports from New Orleans, the second-highest exporting port, were at their second-highest level for 2011 at 1.85mn st, jumping from a flood-slowed May when its volumes totaled 1.39mn st.
Europe and Asia again were the two continents importing the most US coal. But while exports to Europe were at their highest monthly level this year, at 4.33mn st, exports to Asia were at their lowest level for 2011, at 2.21mn st.
While US coal exports were at their second-highest level for the year in June, US coal imports were at their second-lowest level as generators relied on ample inventories and as low natural gas prices encouraged fuel-switching.
The US imported 970,196st of coal in June, compared with 1.31mn st in May and 1.77mn st a year ago. Imports of Colombian coal totaled 518,351st, off 58pc from 1.23mn st a year ago and off 41pc from 876,399st in May.