Coal Prices Fell for the Week Ending September 16

Powder River Basin spot coal prices

For the week ending September 16, 2016, PRB (Powder River Basin) spot coal prices came in at $8.25 per short ton—about 5% lower than $8.70 per ton the previous week. The PRB is located in Wyoming and Montana. It’s the largest coal-producing region in the US. It accounts for almost half of the total coal output in the US. The PRB is also the lowest cost thermal coal-producing region in the world.

Peabody Energy (BTUUQ), Arch Coal (ACIIQ), and Cloud Peak Energy (CLD) are major coal producers (KOL) that operate in this region.

Coal Prices Fell for the Week Ending September 16

Illinois Basin coal prices

ILB (Illinois Basin) coal prices remained unchanged at $32.00 per short ton on a week-over-week basis. This represents a multiyear low. The ILB, located in Illinois, Ohio, and Western Kentucky, produces high sulfur coal. Notably, ILB coal became competitive with coal from the neighboring Appalachian region. Power plants installed scrubbers to soak up sulfur. Sulfur contributes to acid rain.

Peabody Energy, Natural Resources Partners (NRP), and Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) are major players that operate in the region. Utilities (XLU) such as Southern Company (SO) and Tennessee Valley Authority use ILB coal.

Coal prices in the Appalachian region

During the week ending September 16, 2016, Central Appalachian coal prices came in at $40.20 per short ton—compared to $41.10 per short ton at the end of the previous week. North Appalachian coal prices came in at $41.45 per short ton—compared to $42.35 per short ton at the end of the previous week.

The Appalachian region is located in the eastern US. It’s the oldest coal-producing region in the country. Of all the coal-producing regions, the Appalachian region is impacted most by natural gas price movements. However, because Appalachian coal prices are already down to marginal costs, they show a reduced correlation with natural gas prices.

The Uinta Basin’s coal prices remained steady at $39.40 per short ton during the week ending September 16, 2016.

For more related analysis, visit Market Realist’s Energy and Power page.