US utility coal stockpiles continue to decline; markets not alarmed

Utility coal stockpiles stood at 128.4 million st at the end of May, according to the most recent Energy Information Administration data, released last week. The figure was down 20.9% from the year-ago month, and down 23.7% from the five-year average for the month. Stockpiles typically build during May, as utilities prepare for summer burn. The five-year average is a build of 3.1 million st; this year, it was a drawdown of 540,000 st. According to Arlington, Virginia-based energy consultancy Energy Ventures Analysis, utility stockpiles at the end of June stood at 119.2 million st. The EVA total, based on survey responses and modeling, would be 24.4% off the EIA’s year-ago figure for June, and 26.5% below from the five-year average. It would also be the lowest stockpile figure March 2014, which followed the so-called Polar Vortex of early 2014. Yet coal prices have shown little reaction. The over-the-counter price for front-month Powder River Basin 8,800 Btu/lb coal was assessed Friday at $12.25/st, the lowest price this year. The price started the year at $12.40/st, peaked at $13/st February 23, then has largely declined in the following weeks. In the East, the front-month price for Central Appalachia rail (CSX) coal,… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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