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Coal Prices Hold Steady with Spring around the Corner

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Powder River Basin

The Powder River Basin, or PRB, is located in Wyoming and Montana. It’s the largest coal-producing region in the US. It produces almost half of the total US coal output. The PRB is also the lowest cost thermal coal–producing region in the world.

Peabody Energy (BTU), Arch Coal (ACI), and Cloud Peak Energy (CLD) are major coal producers (KOL) that operate in the region.

PRB spot coal prices averaged $11.1 per ton for the week ended March 20—unchanged from the previous week. PRB coal prices have remained under pressure throughout this winter.

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Illinois Basin

The Illinois Basin, or ILB, is located in Illinois, Ohio, and western Kentucky. The region produces high-sulfur coal. In recent years, ILB coal became competitive against coal from the neighboring Appalachian region. Most power plants installed scrubbers to soak sulfur. Sulfur causes acid rain. Peabody Energy and Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) are major players that operate in the region.

The ILB coal spot price has remained at $40.3 per ton for the last four weeks.

Appalachia

The Appalachian region is located in the eastern US. It’s the oldest coal-producing region in the US. Appalachia is affected the most by natural gas price movements. However, as production in the region has already cut down, prices showed a reduced correlation with natural gas prices.

Central Appalachian thermal coal prices came in at $53.0 per ton for the week ended March 20. This was marginally down from $53.1 per ton the previous week. Northern Appalachian coal prices remained stable at $61.2 per ton.

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