EIA lowers yearly coal estimates

THE US Energy Information Administration has slightly lowered its estimates for 2013 coal consumption and production but has upped its prediction of annual exports for the year in its Short-Term Energy Outlook.

Staff Reporter

Released on Tuesday, the agency’s July estimate for US coal consumption was lowered 0.4% from last month’s estimate to 950 million tons for the year.

Despite being lowered from June’s estimate, the agency said it marked a 6.7% increase from 2012 consumption of 890Mt, which it attributed to higher electricity demand and higher natural gas prices.

The EIA said it expected consumption to rise again in 2014 to total 966Mt.

The agency estimates the country’s coal production will total 1.1 billion tons in 2013, a 0.4% drop from its June estimate of 1Bt but an increase from last year.

Inventory draws and a small increase in coal imports will meet most of the growth in consumption this year.

Inventories will stabilize in the face of increased consumption next year, with the EIA expecting a further increase in production in 2014.

According to the agency, US coal exports are likely to increase this year to 112Mt, a 1.8% increase from its June estimate of 110Mt.

However, the estimate is 11.1% lower than the record exports of 126Mt in 2012.

Exports are estimated to be slightly lower again in 2014 at 108Mt.

The estimated 2013 coal price of $2.36 per million British thermal units is the lowest average annual coal price since 2000, the EIA said.

Prices next year are expected to return to 2012 levels of $2.40/MBtu.

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