first_imgSlumping prices mean trouble for U.S. thermal coal exporters FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Wall Street Journal ($):Thermal-coal prices have tumbled to multiyear lows amid slumping global demand for the commodity, the world’s top source of electricity. Miners exporting from the U.S., which have benefited from growing foreign orders in recent years, are among the hardest hit.As the market softens, they are struggling to compete with mining giants from places such as Australia, because it is more time-consuming and costly for U.S. miners to ship their coal to key markets. The selloff is hurting an industry President Trump promised to revive as a centerpiece of his 2016 presidential campaign.Exports from the East Coast sold for $46.12 a metric ton on Tuesday, down 26% in a month, according to S&P Global Platts. That is roughly half where the commodity traded in mid-2018, although it is up from a trough of $42 a ton last week.There are several reasons for the rout, not least a seasonal lull as the Northern Hemisphere warms up after the winter. Prices for liquefied natural gas, a cleaner energy source, have slumped to roughly three-year lows, according to S&P Global Platts. That has enabled power producers that use both fuels to prioritize gas.Meanwhile, demand has waned in key markets. In Asia, Japanese buyers have locked in supplies with long-term contracts, Chinese utilities are buying more local coal and generating more power from gas and water, and South Korea has raised taxes on coal imports. In Europe, too, weak industrial output means less power consumption, while LNG output has jumped. BMO Capital Markets analyst Colin Hamilton said soft demand in Europe was the main weak point for the market globally.Should coal prices stay low, U.S. exports would probably shrink quickly, analysts say.More ($): A chill descends on the coal marketlast_img

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