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US utility coal stockpiles fall to 13-year low after January: EIA

Highlights

Power sector coal stocks lowest since September 2005

Lowest bituminous stocks in over 15 years

Houston — US coal inventories in the power sector were at a 13-year low of 99.2 million st at the end of January, down from 102.79 million st after December and the lowest since stockpiles were at 98.19 million st after September 2005, according to data from the US Energy Information Administration.

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The January total was down from 123.51 million st in the year-ago month and down 34.3% from the five-year average.

In the last 21 months, inventories have only increased five times from the prior month.

Roughly 9% of non-lignite coal-fired power plants have less than 30 days of coal supply, while 20.9% of coal capacity has supply between 30 and 60 days. The remaining 70.1% has over 60 days of supply, which is the second-highest for the month of January in the last 10 years, only behind 70.5% in January 2016.

Bituminous coal stocks were at 40.43 million st after January, down from 42 million st after December and the lowest monthly figures in over 15 years, according to the EIA data.

On a days-of-burn basis, plants have an average 85 days of supply for bituminous coal after January, up from 82 days after December but down from 90 days from the year-ago month.

Subbituminous coal stocks at the end of January were at 55.89 million st, down from 57.74 million st after December and 72.02 million st in the year-ago month. It was also down from the

It was the lowest monthly inventory level since 55.43 million st after September 2014.

Subbituminous coal is at 90 days of supply at the end of January, up from 89 days after December but down from 108 days in the year-ago month.

After January, lignite stocks were are at 2.88 million st, down from 3.04 million st after December, and 3.03 million st in the year-ago month.

Lignite stocks were the lowest for the month of January in over 11 years.

According to S&P Global Platts Analytics, US coal stockpiles were estimated at 106.23 million st for the week ended March 22, while inventories were projected around 102.74 million st at the end of February.

-- Tyler Godwin, tyler.godwin@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Richard Rubin, newsdesk@spglobal.com