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US coal exports on track for second highest year behind 2012: Census data

Highlights

Met coal exports in August total 5.15 million mt, up 9.3% on year

Japan moves past Egypt into top three year-to-date bituminous coal importers

Houston — US coal exports totaled 9.1 million mt in August, up 5.5% from July and up 17.3% from the year-ago month, according to US Census data released Friday.

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Through August, US coal exports total 70.5 million mt, up 29.8% compared with the same period last year, while exports on an annualized basis would total 105.7 million mt, the highest total since 2012, when US exports peaked at 114.2 million mt.

Exports have been higher this year for both US metallurgical and thermal coal due to tight global supply and higher demand for both types of coal.

Met coal exports in August totaled 5.15 million mt, up 19.1% from the prior month and up 9.3% from the year-ago month.

Top met coal export destinations in August were the Netherlands, at 977,191 mt, compared with 274,661 mt in the year-ago month; Brazil, at 539,866 mt, compared with 482,200 mt; and Japan, at 488,179 mt ,compared with 45,790 mt.

For the year, top met coal export destinations were Brazil, at 5.03 million mt, compared with 4.19 million mt in the year-ago period; India, at 4.14 million mt, compared with 2.29 million mt; and the Netherlands, at 3.85 million mt, compared with 1.96 million mt.

Year-to-date, met coal exports totaled 38.3 million mt, up 20.6% from the year-ago period. On an annualized basis, met coal exports for the full-year would total 57.5 million mt, highest since 2013.

Bituminous coal exports in August totaled 3.3 million mt, down 10.5% from July but up 40.8% from last year. Year-to-date, bituminous coal exports total 27 million mt, and would total 40.6 million mt on an annualized basis, highest since 2012, when thermal exports peaked at 41.1 million mt.

Top bituminous coal export destinations in August were India, at 796,394 mt compared with 586,531 mt last year; Japan, at 379,503 mt compared with 124,613 mt; and Germany, at 275,185 mt compared with 75,587 mt.

For the year, the top bituminous coal export destinations are India, at 6.84 million mt, compared with 3.27 million mt in the year-ago period; the Netherlands, at 2.74 million mt, compared with 4 million mt; and Japan, at 2.4 million mt, compared with 1.38 million mt.

Subbituminous coal exports totaled 637,339 mt in August, up 9.5% from last month but down 0.1% from the year-ago month. Year-to-date subbituminous coal exports totaled 4.78 million mt, down 4% from the year-ago period, while exports on an annualized basis would total 7.16 million mt, highest since 2013.

The top importer of US subbituminous coal in August was South Korea, at 453,191 mt, compared with 453,310 mt last year, followed by Mexico, at 153,550, mt compared with 163,581 mt last year. The third biggest was Japan, which took 30,405 mt in August, up from zero in the same month last year.

For the year, the top subbituminous coal export destinations were South Korea, at 2.98 million mt, compared with 2.52 million mt in the year-ago period; Mexico, at 1.34 million mt, compared with 1.45 million mt; and China, at 332,247 mt, compared with 156,359 mt.

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

--Edited by Annie Siebert, annie.sibert@spglobal.com