U.S. Coal Stores Rise 2% for Week


"U.S. generators had 59 days worth of coal on hand as of Monday."

Coal stockpiles at U.S. power plants rose 2% this week but were 2.4% smaller than last year at this time, Genscape said Tuesday.

U.S. generators—which rely on coal to fuel about half of U.S. electricity output—had 59 days worth of coal on hand as of Monday, one more day than last week, the data provider said.

But power companies averaged one less day of coal stockpiled than the same week of 2009, according to Genscape.

Spring weather, competitive gas prices and output reductions by miners contributed to the data.

Power generators as of Monday had 158.7 million tons of coal, up from 155.6 million tons stockpiled on March 29, but down from 162.6 million tons the same week last year, Genscape said.

The week-on-week rise came as spring weather spread across the nation and low-price gas cut into coal use as a power plant fuel.

The year-on-year decline appears at least partly due to slower springtime growth as miners maintain cuts in output that they had just begun at this time last year.

Inventories typically grow in spring and fall when demand for heating and cooling drops. Stockpiles shrink in summer and winter when demand for climate control rises.

Mathematical rounding sometimes affects the results, overstating some changes and understating others, Genscape has said.

The numbers reflect adjustments to the Genscape model and restatement of inventories for early 2009 due to distortions caused by unprecedented substitution of gas for coal in that period.

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