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US thermal coal exports climb to nine-month high

Friday, April 3rd, 2020

US coal exports rose to 6.19 million mt in February, as thermal exports climbed to a nine-month high, while metallurgical exports fell to a three-year low, Census Bureau data showed.Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.

February’s exports were up 9.5% from the three-year low 5.66 million mt in January and 1.8% higher than the 6.08 million mt exported in the year-ago month.

Thermal exports were at a nine-month high 2.96 million mt in February, up 35.6% from January and 4.6% higher year on year, despite subbituminous exports falling to an eight-month low.

Year-to-date thermal exports are at 5.15 million mt, down 25.5% from the first two months of 2019.

Bituminous exports were also at a nine-month high 2.64 million mt in February, up 53% from January and 1.6% from a year ago.

India received the largest volume of bituminous coal at 1.57 mt in February, up from 568,483 mt in January and 842,214 mt in the year-ago month. It was the most US coal shipped to any country in a month in over nine years.

Rounding out the top three were South Korea and the Dominican Republic, which took deliveries of 242,413 mt and 183,500 mt of bituminous coal, compared with 190,041 and 119,732 mt, respectively, in January.

Subbituminous exports were at an eight-month low 313,150 mt in February, down 29.9% from January but 38.8% higher than a year ago.

South Korea received 269,324 mt, or 86% of the total subbituminous exports in February, down from 375,562 mt in January. Exports to Mexico also fell to 43,826 mt in February, from 71,248 mt in January.

Year-to-date bituminous exports are at 4.37 million mt, while subbituminous exports are at 760,129 mt, down 27.4% and 8.9%, respectively.

For the year, the top bituminous coal export destinations are India, at 2.13 million mt compared with 1.95 million mt in the year-ago period; South Korea, at 432,454 mt compared with zero in the first two months of 2019; the Netherlands, at 395,068 mt compared with 985,779 mt; Singapore, at 318,484 mt compared with zero; and Dominican Republic, at 303,232 mt up from 85,647 mt.

The top importing countries of US subbituminous coal for the first two months are South Korea, at 644,886 mt compared with 436,574 mt last year; and Mexico at 115,074 compared with 286,363 mt.

Met coal exports fall to three-year low

Metallurgical coal exports fell to 3.23 million mt in February, down 6.9% from January and 0.6% lower year on year. It was the lowest monthly total since 2.86 million mt was exported in October 2016.

Brazil, the largest met coal importer, took delivery of 456,406 mt in February, down from 637,451 mt in January. Japan imported 423,934 mt in February, up from 219,135 mt in January, while India and Turkey took delivery of 388,617 mt and 360,584 mt, respectively, compared with 379,915 mt and 76,537 mt in January.

Year-to-date met exports are at 6.7 million mt, down 11.8% from the same period a year ago.

For the year, the top metallurgical coal export destinations are Brazil, at 1.09 million mt compared with 1.14 million mt in the year-ago period; India at 768,532 mt compared with 613,919 mt; South Korea at 672,447 mt compared with 379,723 mt; Japan at 643,069 mt compared with 819,830 mt; and Ukraine at 451,745 mt, compared with 499,646 mt a year ago.

https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/market-insights/podcasts/focus/040220-us-natural-gas-prices-plunge
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