What Happened to Coal Prices as of September 22?



Coal producing regions

The United States has three primary steam coal-producing regions: the Illinois Basin, the Powder River Basin or PRB, and Appalachia. The PRB is located in Wyoming and Montana and constitutes nearly half of the nation’s total coal output, making it the largest coal-mining region in the US.

The PRB is also the least costly thermal coal-mining region in the world. Major coal producers that operate in this region include Peabody Energy (BTU), Arch Coal (ARCH), and Cloud Peak Energy (CLD).

Situated in Illinois, Ohio, and Western Kentucky, the Illinois Basin produces high-sulfur coal. Appalachia is the oldest coal-producing region in the US and is affected by natural gas price fluctuations more often than the other regions.

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Weekly coal spot prices

Spot coal prices in the PRB closed at $11.55 per short ton for the week ended September 22, 2017. Illinois Basin or ILB coal prices settled at $30.85 during the same period.

ILB coal prices had been at $30.70 per short ton consistently during August and for the first two weeks of September. Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) and Natural Resources Partners (NRP) operate in this region, while utilities (XLU) like Tennessee Valley Authority and Southern Company (SO) also make use of the coal mined from the ILB.

Coal prices in Appalachia were reported to be $54.25 per short ton for the week ended September 22, 2017.

Notably, the coal prices in all these regions remained constant compared with the previous week.


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