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US coal production, rail traffic continue to decline YOY in latest week

Total U.S. coal rail traffic for the week ended June 9 dropped less than 1% year over year to 85,160 carloads, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.

Year-to-date coal rail traffic increased by less than 1% through the week, while total rail traffic climbed 4.2% year over year to 561,061 carloads and intermodal units.

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BNSF Railway Co.'s coal shipment volumes clocked in at 36,226 carloads in the week ended June 9, up 17.5% from last week's 30,841 carloads and up 5% compared to 34,489 carloads in the year-ago week.

Union Pacific Corp.'s coal shipment volumes this week were at 21,840 carloads, up 14.7% from 19,037 carloads last week but down 9.5% from 2017's weekly volume of 24,142 carloads.

Eastern railroad CSX Transportation Inc.'s shipment volumes of coal stood at 15,318 carloads, up 1.6% from last week's 15,070 carloads and down 1% from 15,481 carloads during the same week in 2017.

Norfolk Southern Corp.'s coal shipment volumes totaled 20,248 carloads for the week, up 12.4% from the prior week's 18,021 carloads and falling a little over 1% from 20,024 carloads in the comparative week a year ago.

Kansas City Southern Railway Co.'s latest weekly coal shipment volume showed 2,870 carloads, up 23.2% from 2,329 carloads the previous week. The railroad serves 10 U.S. states and Mexico.

US coal production drops 2.5% YOY

According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, total U.S. coal production for the week fell 2.5% year over year to 14.9 million tons, compared to 15.3 million tons during the same period in 2017.

For the 52 weeks ended June 9, production was reported at 765.9 million tons, representing a decrease of 2.6% year over year, while year-to-date coal output dropped 1.9% year over year to 331.3 million tons.

The western region's coal production for the week reached 8.2 million tons, up a little over 1% compared to the 8.1 million tons reported in the same week a year ago. Data for the Western region covers Powder River Basin mines.

Coal production from Appalachian mines posted an 4.8% drop year over year to 4.0 million tons from 4.2 million tons a year ago.

The interior region's production numbers fell 8.8% year over year to 2.7 million tons, from 3.0 million tons the previous year. Interior region data covers mines in the Illinois Basin.

The EIA's production data is derived from rail carload estimates.

Data collected by S&P Global Market Intelligence from railroads indicates both cars originated on their lines during the week and cars received from a connecting railroad during the same week.