By Tyler Barker
October 1, 2022 - West Virginia coal production increased from the previous week by +9.3%. +6.9% in the Northern Appalachian region of the state and +12.2% in the state’s Central Appalachian region. Compared to the same 38 weeks of 2021, year to date statewide coal production is up +5.9%. +5% in the state’s NAPP region and +7% in the CAPP region of the state.
National coal production also increased week over week by +10.6%. Production in the Appalachian coal region increased +9.4%, +11.2% in the Interior region and +11% week over week in the Western coal region. Year to date U.S. coal production is up +3.9%. +1.5% in the Appalachian coal region, +2.2% in the Interior region and +5.5% in the Western coal region.
EIA reported spot prices for Central Appalachian thermal coal increased +3.1% (+$5.95 / ton) week over week. Northern Appalachian prices also increased +3.1% (+$5.45 / ton). Illinois basin pricing increased +0.1% (+$0.10 / ton). Spot prices for Powder River Basin coal decreased -0.3% (-$0.05 / ton) and Western Bituminous pricing declined -0.4% (-$0.15 / ton) from the previous week. Compared to the same week in 2021, Central Appalachian thermal coal spot prices are +179.8% higher, Northern Appalachian, +200%, Illinois Basin +442.7%, Powder River Basin, +20.9% and Western Bituminous, +40.6%. Average U.S. natural gas prices declined week over week by -15.7% (-$1.32 / MMBtu). Compared to the same week last year, average natural gas prices are up +23%.
According to data reported by West Virginia’s two class one railroad systems to the federal Surface Transportation Board, the average number of unit coal trains holding per week in the entire Northern and Central Appalachian coal regions increased +22% (+1.2 trains) week over week. Coal carloadings on both systems increased +17.8% from the previous week.
River barge loadings of West Virginia coal increased from the previous week +10.2%.
Domestic iron and steel production decreased week over week by -1.6% and furnace capacity utilization decreased as well by -1.6% from the previous week. Year to date, U.S. raw steel production is off -3.9% and cumulative furnace capacity utilization is down -1.6%.
U.S. electric generation declined week over week by -5.6%. Generation in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast regions decreased as well by -5.1%. Output in the Central Industrial region decreased by -3.3% from the previous week. Compared to the same 38 weeks of 2021, year to date U.S. electric generation is up +3%. Output in the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern regions is up 1.8% and generation in the Central Industrial regions is up 1.3%.
Total U.S. rail traffic increased from the previous week by +5.6%. Coal carloads increased +7.8%, steelmaking traffic increased +8.2% and automaking carloads increased +3.7%. Year to date, U.S. rail traffic is off -2.7%. Coal carloads are up +3.6%, steel making traffic is off -7.2% and auto making traffic are up +1.1%.