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Weekly coal rail deliveries rise for another week, but have more ground to cover

TotalU.S. coal rail deliveries for the week ended July 2 were down 4.8% year overyear to 79,354 carloads, according to data from the Association of AmericanRailroads.

Coaldeliveries have risen in recent weeks.Still, year-to-date coal rail deliveries remain 30.4% below 2015 levels, whichcould mark 2016 as having largestU.S. coal production decline since the beginning of record keeping in 1949.

Totalrail traffic for the week was 529,191 carloads and intermodal units, up 4.4%compared with the same week in 2015. During the week, 264,015 carloads weretransported, a 4.9% improvement from the prior year's delivery. U.S. weeklyintermodal volume was 265,176 containers and trailers, rising 4% compared withthe year-ago week.

"Railtraffic remains relatively weak, with slightly better coal volumes in Juneoffset by continued weakness in intermodal caused in part by an inventoryoverhang and global economic uncertainty," said AAR Senior Vice Presidentof Policy and Economics John Gray. "Because current economic indicatorsare presenting a mixed picture, it's not clear if railroads should bepessimistic or cautiously optimistic about the near- to medium term."

delivered34,755 coal carloads in the week ended July 2, up from 's 34,058 carloads but down9.43% from the year-ago week.

data showedthat the company transported 24,049 carloads, up from 22,646 carloads last weekbut down 9.86% from last year's weekly delivery.

Easternrailroad CSX Transportation Inc.moved 12,081 coal carloads for the week, down from the previous week's 12,168carloads but posted a 2.84% increase from the corresponding week in 2015.

delivered15,859 coal carloads, down from last week's 16,552 carloads but rose 2.72% fromthe prior year's weekly shipment.

'sweekly coal carloads were 3,318, sliding from 4,083 carloads the previous week.The railroad serves 10 U.S. states and Mexico.

US production roughly evenwith year-ago week

Accordingto data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, estimated U.S. coalproduction for the week ended July 2 clocked in at 14.1 million tons, slightlydecreasing by 1.34% from last year's roughly 14.3 million tons.

Forthe 52 weeks ended July 2, production was 19.8% depressed year over year toalmost 767.0 million tons, while year-to-date coal output tumbled 27.4% from2015 to about 330.7 million tons through July 2.

Productionlevels in U.S. basins were relatively flat compared to output a year ago.

TheWestern region's coal production for the week reached 8.1 million tons, down byjust 0.19% and mirroring last year's total. Data for the Western region coversPowder River Basin mines.

Coalproduction from Appalachian mines for the week decreased by 4.02% to 3.4million tons, compared with roughly 3.5 million tons in 2015.

Forthe Interior region, weekly total coal production only slipped 1.27%, to 2.7million tons from the year-ago week's output which was also about 2.7 milliontons. Interior region data covers mines in the Illinois Basin.

TheEIA's production data is derived from rail carload estimates.

Data collected by S&PGlobal Market Intelligence from railroads indicate both cars originated ontheir lines during the week and cars received from a connecting railroad duringthe same week.