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Coal Prices Dropped as Natural Gas Prices Rose

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Powder River Basin

PRB (Powder River Basin) coal spot prices averaged $10.10 per ton for the week ending April 17—$0.20 lower than the previous week. PRB coal prices remained under pressure throughout the winter due to low natural gas prices. An increase in natural gas prices during the previous week didn’t ease the pressure on coal.

The 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.

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Illinois Basin

The ILB (Illinois Basin) 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.

After remaining stable at $40.30 per ton for weeks, ILB coal prices averaged $40.80 during the week ending April 17.

Appalachian

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

Central Appalachian thermal coal prices came in at $49.40 per ton for the week ending April 17—down from $50.10 per ton the previous week. After remaining stable at $61.20 for weeks, North Appalachian coal prices dropped to $60.90 during the week ending April 17.

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