Trade Data Report: Export /Import Profile of the Global and U.S. Coal Industry


Coal is a major worldwide source of energy. Mined in over 100 countries, more than 40% of the world’s energy comes from coal. In 2008 49% of United States’ electricity came from coal.  Coal is almost equally distributed throughout the world. Proven coal reserves are 265 billion tons in Europe, 245 in North America, and 228 in Asia. The United States sit atop most of the North American Coal supplies at 273 billion tons ( Informative 2010 report from World Energy Council ).

Coal Production

China is the world’s heaviest coal producer, producing 3240 million tons. They alone account for 48% of the world’s coal production. The U.S .comes in second, producing 984 million tons, accounting for 14.8% of the world’s production (Download of BP Energy Study).  More than 90% of coal mined in the United States is used to create electricity. Electricity produced from coal accounts for 45% of America’s total energy (Website for EIA- U.S. Energy Information Administration).  In 2008 China generated 81% of its electricity from coal.

Exporters of Coal 

Since America sits on heavy coal reserves, we are the third greatest exporter of coal by value. See Chart 1 below.

By country the United States exports most of its coal to Brazil, followed by Canada. China was our fourth biggest coal destination. See Chart 2 below.

China’s market for US coal has more than quadrupled from 2008 to 2009, growing from around 121 million dollars to more than 600 million dollars. See Chart 3 below.

United States Coal Import

The United States, on the other hand, acquires almost 70% of its imported coal from one source: Colombia, South America.  See Chart 1 below.

Colombia’s coal exports have seen great growth in recent years, rising from around 2 billion US dollars worth in 2004 to over 10 billion dollars worth in 2009.  See Chart 2 below.

One Response to “Trade Data Report: Export /Import Profile of the Global and U.S. Coal Industry”

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