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US coal exports fell by 18.5% in 2016 for the 4th year in a row

16 Mar 2017

According to the US Energy Information Administration, the United States remained a net exporter of coal in 2016, despite a new sharp drop in coal exports.

Coal exports fell for the fourth consecutive year, by 18.5% to 60.3 million short tons (MMst) in 2016, due to the slow growth in global coal demand and a higher supplier competition. On the demand side, ten countries account for nearly 80% of US coal exports and exports declined in nine of them. On the supply side, lower mining costs, cheaper transportation costs, and favourable exchange rates continued to provide a market advantage to other major coal-exporting countries such as Australia, Indonesia, Colombia, Russia, and South Africa. Mid-year increases in international coal prices had few effect on US coal exports, which declined through most of 2016.

Coal imports contracted by 13% to 9.8 MMst in 2016, posting the first decline in imports since 2013. Despite a 12% in imported volumes, Colombia remained the largest source of US coal imports.


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