U.S. May Coal Exports Total 8.24 Million Mt, Down 5.8% on Year
By Jeffrey McDonald
July 4, 2019 - U.S. coal exports totaled 8.24 million mt in May, up 9.7% from April but down 5.8% from the year-ago month, according to U.S. Census data Wednesday.
Exports recovered in May as tonnage began moving again on the Mississippi River following April floods.
On a year-over-year basis, exports declined in May as the previous year saw East Coast terminals working through a backlog of shipments caused by freezing weather early in 2018.
Through May, U.S. coal exports totaled 38.6 million mt, down 11.2% from the same period last year.
The drop in exports is due largely to a fall in European-delivered CIF ARA thermal coal prices. In the first five months of 2018, the CIF ARA price averaged $85.98/mt compared with $67.59/mt over the same time period in 2019.
Bituminous Exports Rise on Month and Year
Bituminous coal exports in May totaled 3.3 million mt, up 21.1% from the prior month and 9% from the year-ago month. Year-to-date bituminous coal exports totaled 14.9 million mt, down 9.7% from the same period last year.
Top bituminous coal destinations in May were India, at 704,596 mt compared with 850,101 mt in the year-ago month; the Netherlands, at 576,648 mt compared with 218,813 mt; and Japan, at 473,482 mt compared with 322,217 mt.
For the year to date, the top bituminous coal export destinations were India, at 4.3 million mt compared with 4.4 million mt in the year-ago period; the Netherlands, at 2.3 million mt compared with 1.9 million mt; and Japan with 1.7 million mt compared with 1.3 million mt.
Subbituminous Exports Fall Sharply
Subbituminous coal exports totaled 119,508 mt, down 75.4% from the prior month and 81% from the year-ago month. Year-to-date subbituminous coal exports totaled 1.9 million mt, down 34.3% from the same period last year.
Top subbituminous coal destinations in May were Egypt, at 59,316 mt compared with no imports in the year-ago month; South Korea at 45,523 mt compared with 378,889 in the year-ago month; and Mexico, at 14,669 mt compared with 160,008 mt.
For the year to date, the top subbituminous coal export destinations were South Korea, at 1 million mt compared with 1.84 million mt in the year-ago month; Mexico, at 642,163 mt compared with 844,811 mt; and Egypt, at 174,816 compared with zero tons last year.
Met Coal Exports Down
Metallurgical coal exports in May totaled 4.8 million mt, up 13.8% from the prior month and down 5% from the year-ago month. Year-to-date met coal exports totaled 21.6 million mt, down 9.6% from the same period last year.
Top met coal destinations in May were India, at 657,270 mt compared with 850,182 mt in the year-ago month; Japan, at 644,102 mt compared with 354,386 mt; and Brazil, at 560,019 mt compared with 727,531 mt.
For the year to date, top met coal export destinations were Brazil, at 2.8 million mt compared with 3.4 million mt in the year-ago month; Japan, at 2.6 million mt compared with 2.3 million mt; and the Netherlands, at 2.4 million mt compared with 1.97 million mt.