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Moody’s: Problems mounting for U.S. coal industry

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Mining.com:US domestic demand for thermal coal will fall in the near term as individual states shut down much of the industrial economy to try and stem the coronavirus pandemic, and as slowing economic activity cuts US electricity demand in the second quarter of 2020, Moody’s Investors Services said Thursday in a research note, adding that it expects an unprecedented shock to the global economy in the first half of 2020.The outlook for coal-fired power plants in the US has darkened over the past few months, Moody’s said, particularly for coal plants in the Mid-Atlantic and the industrial Midwest. These coal plants have been economically challenged for the past few years, generating minimal to negative cash flows. The developments in the past few months have conspired to push them into an even more perilous position, Moody’s asserted.Meanwhile, environmental, social and governance-related (ESG) issues with respect to the coal industry have eroded access to capital for US coal companies, Moody’s noted. Equity and debt trading levels for coal companies have worsened substantially from a trifecta of factors. Moody’s highlighted a weakening export market in the second half of 2019, multiple announcements that major investors would divest coal-related holdings, and the broader weakening that occurred with the global spread of the coronavirus in March 2020.Coal companies have also struggled with recent adverse political developments, including a revised approach to black-lung liabilities that would require them to post more collateral during a weakening market environment, and a recent US Federal Trade Commission ruling against Arch and Peabody’s joint venture in the Powder River Basin that would have helped these compete against alternative fuels.Export thermal markets will continue to fall in 2020, Moody’s said, rather than helping rescue domestic thermal coal producers from weakening domestic demand like in 2017 and 2018. While some producers still have contracts established during stronger market conditions, and cash costs vary significantly for each mining operation, coal pricing in Europe will not support a continuation of US exports at 2019 levels, which were themselves down 20% from 2018 levels.While thermal coal prices continue to decline, demand for metallurgical (met) coal used in steelmaking remains uncertain – with clear downside risk.More: ESG issues limit U.S. coal industry’s resistance to pandemic – report Moody’s: Problems mounting for U.S. coal industrylast_img read more