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U.S. Coal Consumption Drops 18.8% In Q4 To Record Low


The U.S. Energy Information Administration released information via press release Wednesday indicating that domestic coal consumption during the fourth quarter of 2011 was down by 18.8 percent from the third quarter of 2011 to 227.1 million short tons.

The decrease brought coal consumption to the lowest level since the second quarter of 1995. While the drop was mostly the result of lower consumption in the electric power sector, the EIA noted that decreases in U.S. coal use were partially offset by an increase in coal exports to Asia and Europe.

U.S. coal exports overall surpassed the five-year (2006-2010) fourth-quarter range, increasing by 32.6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2010 and 6.6 percent from the third quarter of 2011 to 27.7 million short tons, according to the EIA.

U.S. coal exports increased in 2011 as a result of strong demand growth in Asia as well as supply issues in late 2010 and early 2011 in Australia, Indonesia, and Colombia.

Exports to South Korea, Japan, China, and India together accounted for approximately one-fourth of all coal exports in the fourth quarter of 2011, the EIA said.

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