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Weekly coal output hits high for the year as rail deliveries pick up pace

TotalU.S. coal rail deliveries for the week ended July 16 slipped 15.5% year over yearto 84,272 carloads, but showed a sharp improvement from the previous week, accordingto data from the Association of American Railroads.

Year-to-datecoal rail deliveries are down 29.7% compared to shipments in the year-ago week,a consistent downward slope pointing to the potential largest U.S. annual coal production decline on record.

Totalrail traffic for the week was 520,222 carloads and intermodal units, dipping 5.6%compared with the same week in 2015. During the week, 262,202 carloads were transported,a 5.4% lapse compared to the prior year's delivery. U.S. weekly intermodal volumesank 5.8% year over year to 258,020 containers and trailers.

Datafrom BNSF Railway Co.showed that the company delivered 37,397 coal carloads in the week ended July 16,up from last week's 34,217carloads but fell 14.1% from the year-ago week.

data showed thatthe company transported 25,033 carloads, up from 24,401 carloads last week but down14.8% from last year's weekly delivery.

Easternrailroad CSX Transportation Inc.moved 14,235 coal carloads for the week, up from the previous week's 10,709 carloads,but posted a 19.1% contraction from the corresponding week in 2015.

delivered15,802 coal carloads, up from last week's 12,972 carloads but down 22% from theprior year's weekly shipment.

'sweekly coal carloads were 4,239, up from 3,727 carloads the previous week. The railroadserves 10 U.S. states and Mexico.

Output accelerates, but remainsdown 27% vs 2015 year-to-date

Accordingto data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, estimated U.S. coal productionfor the week ended July 16 stood at 15.1 million tons, a 13.8% abatement from lastyear's total which reached 17.6 million tons.

For the52 weeks ended July 16, production posted a 20.2% downturn year over year to almost760.8 million tons, while year-to-date coal output slumped 26.6% from 2015 to about358.8 million tons through July 16.

The Westernregion's coal production for the week totaled 8.8 million tons, down by 11.9% comparedto last year's 10.0 million tons. Data for the Western region covers Powder RiverBasin mines.

Coalproduction from Appalachian mines for the week decreased by 17.7% to 3.4 milliontons, compared with approximately 4.2 million tons in 2015.

For theInterior region, weekly total coal production tumbled 14.9%, to 2.8 million tonsfrom the year-ago week's output, which was around 3.3 million tons. Interior regiondata covers mines in the Illinois Basin.

The EIA'sproduction data is derived from rail carload estimates.

Data collected by S&P GlobalMarket Intelligence from railroads indicate both cars originated on their linesduring the week and cars received from a connecting railroad during the same week.