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US coal exports increased 61pc in 2017, Asia intake doubles


THE United States exported 97 million tons of coal in 2017, a 61 per cent increase from 2016, according to the US Energy Information Administration's Quarterly Coal Report.

Exports to Asia more than doubled from 15.7 million tons in 2016 to 32.8 per cent increase, though Europe continues to be the largest recipient of US coal.

Steam coal, which is used to generate electricity, accounted for most of the increase in 2017 coal exports. India, South Korea, and Japan were three of the top five recipients of US steam coal exports in 2017.

India, the largest importer of steam coal from the United States, imported 7.6 million tons of steam coal from the United States in 2017 - nearly three times as much as in 2016 - mainly to fuel growing electricity capacity in the country.

South Korea was the third-largest recipient of US steam coal in 2017, importing 5.9 million tons up from 1.3 million tons in 2016.

This increase was primarily because of South Korea's plan to transition away from nuclear power, increasing its reliance on electricity generated from coal-fired power plants.

Japan's electricity generation is dominated by fossil fuel plants, as much of Japan's nuclear fleet has yet to restart after the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident and resulting shutdown of the country's other nuclear power plants.

The top six countries (Brazil, Japan, Ukraine, Canada, India, and South Korea) importing metallurgical coal from the United States accounted for more than half of all metallurgical exports in 2017.

Five of these six countries, with the exception of Ukraine, were also among the top 10 countries that exported steel to the United States in 2017.

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