Latest Buzz...


Friday, June 8, 2012

Global Warming will Destroy the Coal Industry

Updated July 9, 2012

In June 2011, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said "The Coalition has been saying now for a long time, that Julia Gillard’s carbon tax will destroy the coal industry." Read more at Tony Abbott does "Hanrahan" for Doorstop Interview

After one of the warmest U.S. winters on record the world price of thermal coal has PLUMMETED.

Updated August 20, 2012
COAL prices are falling so fast that China, the world's biggest producer, has cut capacity by more than Australia's entire coal output.
Read more: China cuts capacity  | August 4, 2012 | Chua Baizhen and Andjing Yang

Global coal output is set to shrink over the next year or two as miners grapple with a combination of low prices, weak demand and currency headwinds.

High-cost Australian operations are under particular pressure.
Read more: BHP warns of job losses in Australian coal mines  | August 17, 2012 | The Irish Times

Black hole: US coal stocks now down over 60% in 2012 as thermal price hits 2-year low

Posted 11 June 2012
by Frik Els

Coal for power generation at the port of Newcastle in Australia, the benchmark for Asia, was quoted at $87.30 a tonne on Monday, its lowest level since June 2010 and down more than a fifth since the start of the year.

The collapse in thermal coal prices have seen the shares of US producers – which have been switching to exports as domestic demand declined – plummet this year and the bloodletting continued on Monday.

...High inventories thanks to a mild northern hemisphere winter and a resulting surge in US exports have led to a collapse in thermal coal prices.

US producers have been switching to exports as domestic demand collapsed in a record warm winter. According to the latest stats from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), coal-fired power stations represented just 36% of US electricity in the first quarter of 2012 — a rapid decline from 44.6% just one year ago.

Australian Thermal Coal Monthly Price
Australian Thermal Coal Monthly Price

Thermal coal price cut

11 Apr, 2012

HUNTER coal companies are in for a harder year financially after Japanese electricity companies secured an 11 per cent cut in the annual benchmark price for Newcastle thermal coal.

This year’s benchmark price of $US115.20 ($112.90) a tonne compares with last year’s of $US129.85 ($127.25).

It could cut $1 billion from this year’s Hunter coal earnings.

AUSTRALIA COAL: Asian buyers pressure softening Newcastle thermal market

1 Jun, 2012
Perth (Platts)

Asian buyers kept up the downward pressure on Newcastle thermal coal prices Friday by insisting on asking sellers for price discounts on prompt shipments at risk of going into default.
"Some Hunter Valley coal producers will be in serious trouble because current spot prices are close to their production costs," said a participant in the Asia-Pacific market.

"If the market continues in this direction, then some mines might have to close," he said.

Australia's Coal Mining Boom Ends as Prices Tumble

Published: Wednesday, 6 Jun 2012 
By: Reuters

Falling coal prices ...have forced Australia's producers to start trimming output and letting go of some workers, hurting miners, rail and port operators and potentially threatening plans for more than $30 billion of investment in new mines.

Thermal coal prices have fallen 20 percent this year to a near two-year low of  $92 a tonne at the Australian port of Newcastle, based on globalCOAL's index, which has left prices close to the operating cost for some mines.
Coal exports from the United States have jumped as U.S. power stations have been switching from burning coal to natural gas...

Warm U.S. Winter Whacks Natural Gas To 10-Year Lows

INVESTING | 9 Feb, 2012
By Alan Lammey and Michael Barak, WeatherBELL Analytics

With the recent price collapse in natural gas prices [they are] down to 10-year lows... This is primarily due to the combination of one of the warmest winters seen in the U.S. in decades coupled with several years of non-stop drilling in prolific natural gas shale areas.  These events have created a massive glut...

November 2011-January 2012 Mean Temperature Anomaly
November 2011-January 2012 Mean Temperature Anomaly

Power Prices Fall This Winter Following Movements Lower in Natural Gas Prices

25 May 2012 
Posted by CNE Market Intel

Since November 2011, natural gas prices declined nearly 50 percent to lows back in April as one of the warmest winters in decades contributed to an oversupplied market. Just four weeks ago, front month natural gas fell to a 10-year low of $1.907/MMBtu.

Coal’s Share of U.S. Electricity Generation Falls to 35-Year Low

Posted 13 Mar, 2012
by Moran Zhang

The share of U.S. power generation that comes from coal has fallen to near a 35-year low, as electric power plants shift to cheaper natural gas.

Although coal is still the main fuel for electricity generation, its share of monthly power generation in the U.S. dropped below 40 percent in the last two months in 2011, according to the Energy Department. The last time coal's share of total generation was below 40 percent for a monthly total was March 1978.
...Generation from natural gas rose 12 percent to 86 terawatt-hours. Coal-fired generation, however, fell by 21 percent during the period to 132 terawatt-hours.
Natural gas prices have continued their downward trend this winter as a result of warmer-than-normal temperatures...

U.S. natural gas prices slid to a fresh 10-year low Tuesday, with the Nymex April gas dropping nearly 3 percent to a low of $2.204 per million British thermal units.

Meanwhile, U.S. benchmark central Appalachian thermal coal prices fell last week to $58 a metric ton -- the lowest level in nearly two years.
Barclays is forecasting a surplus of 20 million to 35 million tons in 2012 in U.S. thermal coal. Analysts believe inventories are at risk of swelling to unsustainably high levels, given utilities inventories are already at 170 million tons, above the historical average of 150 million tons.

The surplus could push coal inventories to about 190 million tons to 205 million tons by year-end. ...

US coal exports hit more than 30-year high

15 May, 2012

Washington, 15 May (Argus) — US coal exports reached a more than three-decade high in March, reaching 11.1 million short tons (10 million metric tonnes) as lower domestic demand allowed more coal to head into seaborne markets.
Every US coal-producing region is trying to boost exports as domestic generators increase their reliance on competitively priced natural gas.