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U.S. Coal Supply and Demand: 2010 Year in Review

Release Date: June 1, 2011   |  Next Release Date: Periodically   |   full report 

Coal Prices

Figure Data
In 2010, most domestic coal prices continued to increase, rising for the seventh consecutive year. Spot coal prices declined sharply at the end of 2008 and early 2009. While there has been a steady increase in North and Central Appalachian coal spot prices ever since, these prices have recovered about half their drops from peak 2008 levels, and other coal spot prices have increased only slightly from recent bottoms. As contracts expire and are renegotiated, the prevailing spot price influences the price on new and renegotiated contracts. Recent rising spot prices have maintained upward pressure on contract prices. According to preliminary data for 2010, coal prices at electric utilities (a subset of the electric power sector) increased for a tenth consecutive year, to $45.09 per short ton, an increase of 1.4 percent over the 2009 price, as compared to the previous year when these prices increased much more by 8.3 percent. Coal prices at independent power producers for 2010 increased to $41.49 per short ton, an increase of 3.9 percent. The average delivered price of coal to the other industrial sector decreased by 1.0 percent to an average price of $64.24 per short ton in 2010. In 2010 the delivered price of coal to U.S. coke plants increased by 7.4 percent to reach an average price of $153.59 per short ton (Figure 7). The average delivered price of coal to the commercial and institutional sector fell in 2010 by 9.1 percent to $88.42 per short ton.