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Houston — Weekly US coal production totaled an estimated 17.02 million st in the week ended August 19, up 3.4% from the prior week and 12.3% from a year ago, data from the US Energy Information Administration showed Thursday.

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It was the highest weekly estimate year-to-date and the first time the production estimate has climbed above 17 million st since early February.

The production increase comes as stockpiles continue to decline and coal consumption is higher.

Weekly US coal production



Platts Analytics' Bentek Energy estimates utility coal stockpiles as of Thursday stood at 124.9 million st, down 19% against the five-year average for the month. The total would also be the lowest amount since September 2014.

Bentek also estimates US coal consumption is up 4.1% this year compared to last year, primarily due to higher natural gas prices.

For the just-concluded week, coal production in Wyoming and Montana, which primarily consists of coal from the Powder River Basin, totaled an estimated 8 million st, up 2.7% compared with last week and 6.9% from the year-ago week. It was the highest weekly estimate reported this year.

On an annualized basis, coal production in Wyoming and Montana would total 351.6 million st, up 6.6% from last year.

In Central Appalachia, weekly coal production totaled an estimated 1.68 million st, up 3.8% from last week and 18.8% from last year. Annualized 2017 production would total 83.5 million st, up 9.3% from last year.

In Northern Appalachia, weekly coal production totaled an estimated 2.44 million st, up 4.2% from last week and 19.7% from the year-ago week. Annualized production would total 114.2 million st, up 12.1% from last year.

Weekly coal production in the Illinois Basin totaled an estimated 2.15 million st, up 4.2% from last week and 15.7% from last year. Annualized production would total 107.1 million st, up 8.8% from 2016.

Based on the most recent EIA estimates and first quarter revisions, US coal production in 2017 on an annualized basis would total 786.8 million st, up 8% from last year.

--Andrew Moore, andrew.moore@spglobal.com

--Edited by Kevin Saville, kevin.saville@spglobal.com