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US coal exports total 8.18 million mt in Feb: Census

US coal exports totaled 8.18 million mt in February, up 2.9% from January andup 30.6% from the year-ago month, US Census Bureau data showed Thursday.

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The slight gain in monthly volumes from January occurred despite a drop inthermal coal volumes, which totaled 3.3 million mt in February, down 12.1%from January but up 17.8% from the year-ago month.

Thermal coal export volumes dropped as the price for S&P Global Platts CIF ARAassessment for delivered thermal coal into Northern Europe (basis 6,000kcal/kg NAR, loading 15-60 days), averaged $83.96/mt, down from $95.02/mt inthe prior month.

Top destinations for thermal coal in February were India at 573,033 mt, upfrom 236,126 mt in the year-ago month; South Korea at 453,489 mt, up from307,981 mt in the year-ago month; and Egypt, which took delivery of 331,872 mtin February, up from zero tons in February 2017.

The largest drop in volumes could be seen in the Netherlands, which tookdelivery of only 226,003 mt during the month, down from 946,415 mt in theyear-ago month.

MET COAL VOLUMES UP 16.6%

Export growth could be attributed entirely to the rise of metallurgical coalexports, which comprised 59% of total US exports during the month, up from 52%in January.

Met coal exports totaled 4.8 million mt during the month, up 16.6% over theprior month and up 41.2% from the year-ago month.

FOB US East Coast low vol metallurgical coal (loading 14-45 days) averaged$196.08/mt, up from $194.14/mt in January.

By port, thermal coal exports in February were highest from New Orleans at 1.2million mt, compared with 812,657 mt last year, while exports from Baltimoretotaled 538,877 mt, down from 778,246 mt in February 2017.

Met coal exports were highest from the port of Norfolk, which shipped 2.8million mt in February, up from 1.9 million mt in the year-ago month, whileexports from Baltimore totaled 1 million mt, up from 833,194 mt in February2017.

--Jeffrey McDonald, jeffrey.mcdonald@spglobal.com

--Edited by James Leech, james.leech@spglobal.com