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Today in Energy

June 22, 2011

U.S. coal exports at highest levels since 1992

graph of U.S. coal exports, as described in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration based on data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, "Monthly Report EM 545"
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U.S. coal exports rose 49% during the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter a year ago, reaching 26.6 million short tons, double the first-quarter 2009 levels. This is the highest level of quarterly coal exports since 1992, when exports were 27 million short tons.

While coking coal remains the primary coal export, comprising 64% of exports, the main driver of growth has been a surge in steam coal, which increased 160% in the first quarter of 2011 compared to the same period in 2010. Coking coal exports increased 21% over that same period.

graph of U.S. coal exports up 49% in QI 2011 versus QI 2010, as described in the article text

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration based on data from the U.S. Bureau of the Census, U.S. Department of Commerce, "Monthly Report EM 545"
Download CSV Data

Disruptions in the global coal supply chain from natural disasters, such as typhoons and flooding in Australia's key coal mining region, have resulted in higher demand for U.S. coal worldwide. Increasing global demand, elevated prices, and a greater capacity to ship coal around the world have made coal exports more profitable.

As global coal suppliers recover, EIA expects U.S. coal exports, while remaining relatively high, to moderate over the course of the year.