Met coal mart constrained by mine closures

Oct 20, 2006 | 09:37 AM | Scott Robertson

Tight U.S. markets for metallurgical coal and coke promise to become ever more constrained in the near future as more mines face the prospects of closure and imports of coke decline.

James Truman, coal market analyst at Hill & Associates Inc.'s Westover, W.Va., office, said coking coal sales to U.S. coke plants have fallen by about 10 million tons since 1995. At the same time, East Coast metallurgical coal exports declined by 28 million tons between 1997 and 2002 and Gulf Coast metallurgical coal exports have fallen 6 million tons since 1993.

The decline in more recent years, since 2004, has been primarily because of a relative slowdown in the global steel market, he said. Market activity peaked in 2004 and has not been able to maintain that pace. Today in the United States, mills are, for the second time in two years, cutting back production to meet slow demand brought on by high inventory levels, he said.....

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