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US thermal coal exports decline 34.2% on month in April: Census

08 Jun 2023


April saw US thermal coal exports sink to a three-month low amid high European stockpiles and low demand from Asia markets.

Platts assessed FOB Baltimore 6,900 Btu/lb coal at an average of $108.26/mt in April, nearly flat from $108.08/mt in March and 8.7% lower than February, which averaged $118.63/mt. The declining assessments are reflective of waning demand over the term.

Bituminous coal shipments accounted for 2.7 million mt of the thermal export volume, down 37% on the month and 5.7% on the year. Year-to-date bituminous coal exports were 7% higher than the 2022 period.

Subbituminous coal shipments accounted for 376,739 mt of the total thermal volume, up 1.6% on the month. Compared with the year-ago month, subbituminous coal shipments were 25% lower. Year-to-date subbituminous coal shipments were at a 33.6% deficit to the 2022 term.

The remaining thermal exports consisted of lignite, anthracite and not otherwise specified-type coal, Census data showed.

India received the lion's share of US thermal coal shipments in April at 874,645 mt, down from 1.6 million mt in March. South Korea followed at 612,190 mt. and Morocco received the third-highest volume of thermal exports at 259,068 mt. Other top destinations in April included the Netherlands at 251,244 mt; Egypt at 235,995 mt; and Germany at 216,328 mt.

Baltimore shipped the highest thermal coal volume in April at 1.2 million mt, down from 1.7 million mt in March. New Orleans shipped the second-highest volume at 653,882 mt, down from 1.2 million mt the month before. Seattle rounded out the top three coal ports in April at 534,365 mt, up from 448,366 mt the month before. Other top thermal coal ports included Mobile at 313,425 mt; Norfolk at 243,152 mt; and San Francisco at 66,000 mt.

Platts is part of S&P Global Commodity Insights.