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Houston — Weekly US coal production totaled an estimated 14.9 million st in the week ended October 21, virtually unchanged from the prior week but down 1.5% from the year-ago week, US Energy Information Administration data showed Thursday.

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It was the third straight week the production estimate has dipped below last year's levels, and the fourth time in the past five weeks.

Anecdotal reports indicate demand remains weak due to mild weather and low natural gas prices. Recent EIA stockpile data shows that at least through August, while overall stockpiles volumes were down, days of burn were elevated, a result of the weaker coal burn.

Days of burn is a measure of how long it would take to burn through stockpiles based on current demand.

For the recently concluded week, coal production in Wyoming and Montana, which primarily consists of coal from the Powder River Basin, totaled an estimated 7.05 million st, up 1.2% compared with last week and down 1.6% from the year-ago week.

On an annualized basis, coal production in Wyoming and Montana would total 355.6 million st, up 7.8% from last year.

In Central Appalachia, weekly coal production totaled an estimated 1.6 million st, down 2.9% from last week and up 4.5% from last year. Annualized 2017 production would total 89.1 million st, up 16.6% from last year.

In Northern Appalachia, weekly coal production totaled an estimated 2.05 million st, up 0.3% from last week and up 0.7% from the year-ago week. Annualized production would total 110.8 million st, up 8.8% from last year.

In the Illinois Basin, weekly coal production totaled an estimated 1.89 million st, down 1.3% from last week and down 1% from last year. Annualized production would total 106.2 million st, up 7.9% from 2016.

Based on the most recent EIA estimates and first-quarter revisions, US coal production in 2017 on an annualized basis would total 787 million st, up 8.1% from last year.

--Andrew Moore,
--Edited by Lisa Miller,