US coal exports climb 10.1% on month in April: Census Bureau

US coal exports

Monthly US thermal and metallurgical coal exports increased 10.1% from the previous month to 7.3 million mt in April, US Census Bureau data showed June 8.

Metallurgical coal accounted for 52.5% of total US coal exports at 3.8 million mt. Thermal coal exports at 3.5 million mt accounted for 47.5% of the US total.

A 19.7% month-on-month increase pushed met coal exports to six-month high. Compared with the year-ago month, met coal exports were 13.9% higher. On a year-to-date basis, met coal exports rose 6.9%. India was the top destination for US met coal at 903,208 mt. The Netherlands followed at 609,885 mt. Brazil received 505,043 mt in US April met coal exports. The Platts assessment for low-vol FOB USEC met coal averaged $470.42/mt in April, more than triple the April 2021 average price of $155.50/mt.

April thermal coal exports rose 1.1% from the previous month and 23.3% from the year-ago month. Year to date, thermal exports were 32.1% higher. CIF ARA 6,000 NAR coal averaged 318.80/mt in April, more than quadruple the April 2021 average $72.24/mt. The top three destinations in descending order for US thermal coal in April were India, South Korea and Morocco.

As is typical, most of the thermal coal exported from the US in April was bituminous. Bituminous exports fell 4.1% on the month to 2.9 million mt. Compared with April 2021, the latest exports were 16.1% higher. India was the top destination for bituminous exports at 582,414 mt. Morocco followed at 464,547 mt. The Netherlands received the third-highest bituminous volume at 439,005 mt.

Subbituminous coal exports rose 19.4% from March to 502,331 mt in April, a four-month high. Year-to-date subbituminous exports were 42.4% higher than the 2021 period. Compared with the year-ago month, subbituminous exports were 69.1% higher. Only two countries received US subbituminous coal exports in April, according to the Census data: South Korea at 365,504 mt, and Japan at 136,827 mt.

Top originating ports

Baltimore originated the most US thermal coal tonnage in April at 785,396 mt. Seattle shipped 699,679 mt, the second-highest thermal volume. New Orleans rounded out the top three thermal ports in April at 652,438 mt.

Norfolk shipped the most met coal in April at 2.4 million mt. After Norfolk, Baltimore was the top-originating met coal port at 746,172 mt. Mobile shipped the third-highest met coal volume in April at 568,476 mt.