Concerns of a looming global shortage of coal are driving up prices in every U.S. region that has access to export markets.
Potential sanctions on Russia, a key supplier, have buyers around the world scrambling to line up supplies of the dirtiest fossil fuel. The war in Ukraine has roiled global markets, sending prices soaring for key commodities from oil to wheat and natural gas to nickel, exacerbating an inflationary surge for energy-consuming nations and worsening a cost-of-living crisis for millions.
Coal from the Illinois Basin soared $17 a short ton to $92.50 last week, the highest in records going back to 2005, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence released Monday. Central Appalachia prices, the most expensive region, gained $2.85 to $93.40.
Only the Powder River Basin in Wyoming and Montana saw a decline in the week ending March 4, with prices slipping $4.90 to $16.75. The biggest U.S. coal-supplying region has no easy access to export terminals and its low-quality coal is used almost exclusively in U.S. power plants.