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May coal deliveries to US power plants fall to more than 13-year low: EIA

Highlights

Over 28.9 million st delivered in May

Contract deliveries fall 4.8% on month, spot shipments rise 5.8%

Houston — Coal deliveries to US power plants fell to a more than 13-year low of 28.9 million st in May, down 3.7% from 30.02 million st delivered in April and 37% lower than the 45.86 million st shipped in the year-ago month, according to US Energy Information Administration data.

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May's shipments were also down 41.8% compared with the five-year average for the month.

Subbituminous coal deliveries totaled 16.44 million st in May, down from 16.48 million st in April and 24.47 million st in the year-ago month.

Bituminous coal deliveries to US power plants fell to 8.75 million st from 9.86 million st in the previous month and 17.63 million st a year earlier.

Subbituminous coal deliveries through the first five months of 2020 totaled 97.15 million st, according to the EIA data, while bituminous deliveries reached 56.55 million st, compared with 122.15 million st and 86.08 million st, respectively, in the first five months of 2019.

Average delivery costs for bituminous coal to regulated plants fell to $53.73/st in May from $54.76/st in April and $57.89/st in the year-ago month, according to the data. Subbituminous delivery costs to regulated plants declined to $30.62/st from $30.97/st in April and $32.65/st in May 2019.

The remaining deliveries in May involved 3.47 million st of lignite and 234,270 st of waste coal, compared with 3.39 million st and 293,021 st, respectively, in April, and 3.43 million st and 329,212 st in the year-ago month.

Imports by US power plants climbed to 252,359 st in May from 187,208 st in April, but fell 1.97% compared with 257,408 st in May 2019.

Contract deliveries fall, spot shipments rise

Contract deliveries, or purchases with a term of one year or longer, fell to a more than 13-year low of 25.8 million st in May, down 4.8% from 31.59 million st in April and 40.47 million st in May 2019.

Spot coal shipments, or contract deliveries of less than one year, rose for the first time in five months to 3.07 million st, climbing 5.8% from 2.9 million st in April but fell 42.3% compared with 5.32 million st in the year-ago month.

Spot deliveries from coal mines in Wyoming rose to 1.23 million st in May from 997,211 st in April, while spot shipments from Illinois and Pennsylvania climbed to 159,576 st and 108,620 st, respectively, from 129,022 st and 95,257 st in April. However, spot deliveries from West Virginia and Kentucky declined to 208,475 st and 71,638 st in May, respectively, from 227,823 st and 102,069 st in the previous month.

Rail deliveries fell to 19.83 million st in May from 20.22 million st in April and 32.97 million st in the year-ago month, while barge deliveries declined to 3.17 million st from 3.34 million st in April and 5.95 million st a year earlier.

Deliveries by truck dropped to 2.93 million st from 3.25 million st in April and 4 million st in May 2019, while 2.8 million st was moved by conveyor, down from 3.09 million st in April and 2.82 million st in the year-ago month.