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US coal exports totaled 7.96 million mt in January, down 7.6% from December, but up 18.8% from the year-ago month, US Census data showed Wednesday.

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The month-over-month drop in exports came as seaborne thermal coal prices dropped slightly. During the month, the Platts CIF ARA assessment for delivered thermal coal into Northern Europe (basis 6,000 kcal/kg NAR) averaged $95.20/mt, down from $95.72/mt in December but up from $89.67/mt in the year-ago month.

January was still the second-highest average CIF ARA pricing dating to April 2012, following the high point in December.

Bituminous coal exports in January totaled 3.22 million mt, down 2% from December but up 38.2% from last year.



Top bituminous coal export destinations in January were India at 832,785 mt, up from 333,939 mt in 2017; the Netherlands, 441,376 mt, down from 472,276 mt a year ago; and Morocco, 388,689 mt, up from zero.

By port, bituminous coal exports in January were highest from New Orleans, at 1.31 million mt, up from 1 million mt in 2017, while exports from Baltimore totaled 699,799 million mt, up from 468,751 mt.

Subbituminous coal exports totaled 580,881 mt in January, down 12.3% from December but up 32.4% from the year-ago month.

The top importer of US subbituminous coal in January was South Korea at 422,221 mt, up from 15,023 mt in December; and Mexico, 158,660 mt, down from 195,612 mt.

Metallurgical coal exports totaled 4.15 million mt in January, down 9% from December but up 6% from the year-ago month.

Top met coal destinations were Brazil at 686,568 mt, up from 371,588 mt a year ago; India, 673,882 mt, up from 152,231 mt; and Japan, 630,509 mt, up from 416,783 mt.

By port, met coal exports in January were highest from Norfolk at 2.05 million mt, up from 1.93 million mt a year ago; Baltimore, 721,280 mt, up from 714,211 mt; and Mobile, Alabama, 727,756 mt, up from 694,922 mt.

--Jeffrey McDonald, jeffrey.mcdonald@spglobal.com
--Edited by Jason Lindquist, jason.lindquist@spglobal.com