US steam coal exports to its top export destination Europe fell 40% year on year to 4.9m tonnes in the first quarter of 2014, from 8.2m tonnes exported in the same period in 2013, US Energy Information Administration (EIA) said.
Total US steam coal exports fell to 9.8m tonnes in the first quarter of 2014, down 20.5% from 12.3m tonnes exported in the same period in 2013, according to the latest report by the EIA.
High stocks at European utilities as well as the growing natural gas margins in electricity production have reduced demand and lowered coal burn in Europe in the first half of 2014. At the same time, US power generators have been drawing down stockpiles and increasing domestic coal consumption because of the cold weather affecting the US at the beginning of the year. Coal consumption by US power generators rose 9.3% year on year to 210,225 tonnes in Q1 ‘14.
According to EIA, coal stocks held by electricity generators fell 31% year on year to 107,026 tonnes at the end of Q1 ‘14. This was the lowest quarterly stock level recorded in more than six years.
During the first three months of the year US imported a total of 2.2m tonnes of coal, up 71% year on year. EIA data show that 67.4% of total imports came from Colombia, followed by Indonesia with 23.4% of the total. Stacy Irish