EIA forecasts US coal production to drop 2.7 per cent on year in 2019

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) forecast coal production totaling 688 million tonnes in 2019, down 2.7 per cent from the year-ago production, the EIA’s Short-Term Energy Outlook reported. August ’s forecast  for 2019 output was up 0.6 per cent from July’s forecast , and the first  increase in four months.

The 2020 projection increased, as well, from the prior month’s forecast  by 1.8 per cent and the EIA now forecast s 651 million tonnes in output next year. This was the highest  2020 output projection since March when the EIA forecast  about 664 million tonnes next year.

Coal exports for this year were projected to total 100 million tonnes in the August  report, up 4.1 per cent from the July report and the first  time the export forecast  has reached 100 million tonnes or above since April. From 2018 exports, the EIA projects a 13.5 per cent drop.

In 2020, the EIA forecast  90.4 million tonnes of exports, down 9.6 per cent from the 2019 projection and up 3 per cent from the previous month’s forecast . August  was the first  time in five months the EIA increased its 2020 export projection.

Power sector consumption was forecast  to total just  over 538 million tonnes this year, down 15.5 per cent from 2018 consumption, and about 525 million tonnes next year, down 2.3 per cent from the 2019 projection. Total US consumption was forecast  to be 589 million tonnes in 2019, down 14.4 per cent from the previous year. The EIA 2020 forecast  was about 576 million tonnes, down 2.3 per cent from the 2019 forecast .

Compared with US coal-powered generation of 27.4 per cent in 2018, the EIA projected coal generation share of 24 per cent in 2019 and 24 per cent in 2020, both flat from the previous month’s forecast. Natural gas generation’s share for 2019 was projected to be 37 per cent, down one percentage point from the July forecast . The 2020 generation forecast  was 36 per cent, down from July’s projection of 37 per cent and the second time the gas power share forecast  has dropped month over month since December 2018.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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