Coal Output Continues Downward Trend

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):U.S. coal production is down for the second straight quarter and average employment held flat compared to the prior period, according to an analysis of preliminary first-quarter data available from federal regulators.Coal companies have been finding opportunities in export markets in recent months, but continue to face a declining domestic customer base that has been hesitant to buy much coal, at least at the prices companies are seeking. While the export opportunities appear to have given a boost to the balance sheets of the parts of the sector that have reported earnings so far, coal volumes fell about 3.1% as average coal employment ticked up less than one-third of a percent in the period.Mines reporting data so far produced 186.6 million tons of coal in the first period, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis of available data from the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration, down from 192.7 million in the fourth quarter and down from 195.2 million tons from the same mines in the year-ago first quarter. The analysis excludes historical mine production and employment data for mines that did not yet have first-quarter data available. Mines reporting so far in the first quarter accounted for about 96% of reported coal production and about 98% of reported employment in the fourth quarter of 2017.While an aging coal fleet continues to dwindle and high utility stockpiles leave many power generators with the option to delay coal purchases, seaborne buyers of coal have created an outlet for some producers to pull tons out of the domestic market. Companies reporting earnings so far have touted success in both thermal and metallurgical coal markets abroad.Metallurgical coal markets tend to be more volatile and as a swing supplier, the U.S. traditionally supplies the market when prices go higher. Seaport Global Securities analyst Mark Levin recently said that for this cycle, much of the lowest-hanging production fruit has been picked at U.S. coal operations that have ramped up or recovered from production issues last year. While new projects are under development, he noted that greenfield development, even for high-margin metallurgical coal mines, has been “relatively sparse.”More ($): Early Data Hints At Coal Volume Decline, Flat Employment In Q1’18 Coal Output Continues Downward Trendlast_img read more

CARICOM leaders call for ‘new beginning’

first_img Share PARAMARIBO, Suriname — Heads of government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) started their pivotal 23rd inter-sessional meeting in Paramaribo on Thursday with a call for renewed vigour and optimism to address the current challenges and further the integration agenda. President of Suriname and CARICOM chair, Desire Bouterse, argued that not only a “better and more empowered” Secretariat is necessary to do so, but also the political will of the leaders as elected officials. CARICOM heads at a 2011 summit. “We should welcome our people’s conviction that their lives can be made better within the region, and not force our talent to migrate beyond,” said the Surinamese president at the opening ceremony of the two-day meeting. According to Bouterse, the frequently heard claim of shortage of finances, which results in not implementing decisions of CARICOM, is invalid. Suriname believes, he said, that if the region harnesses its technological resources, enables its human capital, engages the private sector and rewards innovation and creativity and eventually combines its natural and financial resources, the true potential of CARICOM can be realized. “We have no reason to be poor,” Bouterse said, noting the wealth in among other things oil, gas, gold, diamonds, bauxite, forests, sea and much more. The regional economy could be enhanced by supporting local businesses through the creation of multinational Caribbean companies with public shareholding. Bouterse urged the simplification of the rules of engagement at all levels. “Then we can do much, much more than survive. We can flourish,” he told his fellow leaders.Bouterse therefore urged the member states to provide the Secretariat with the financial resources, which means that member states must pay their dues as a matter of priority. “We must provide the funding for the institutions we have created in our name, and we must open ourselves to wider input as to how these commitments can be honoured,” the CARICOM chair noted. He also stated that the governments must not only commit to paper but be bold enough to find new ways to work together, rationalizing production. The region should nurture its interdependency and cut the ties of dependency, he said. Outgoing chairman Dr Denzil Douglas of St Kitts and Nevis underscored “the need for optimism” in the ongoing efforts to inject new vigour in the advancement of the process to set the region on a path of renewed focus. He noted that if the region is to realize its goals towards deeper integration and greater development “this requires all hands on deck if the ship of this Community is to sail safely through the turbulent waters”. Geo-political, socio-economic, and other global stresses have caused CARICOM’s operational landscape to be ever-changing, and its problem-solving challenges ever more complex. “CARICOM, therefore, must continue to adapt and re-invent itself – never in terms of our undergirding values, purpose, and principles, of course — but certainly in terms of how we function, how we operate, the extent to which we are, or are not, efficient, effective, relevant with a sharper focus on being more results oriented,” the outgoing chair argued. It remains CARICOM’s essential responsibility, to provide greater clarity and form regarding the ideals of integration so that the leaders inspire hope and confidence for the people of the region who, according to Douglas, are questioning the heads’ resolve to truly transform their lives.He warned, however, that “these are not easy times”, taking into account the global uncertainties, which still pose significant challenges to the Caribbean. He reiterated that in order for the leaders to address the challenges “the time for action is now”, which requires a demonstration of political will to engender real and sustainable transformation. CARICOM, according to Douglas, needs to be strategic, and must position itself to become more meaningfully engaged into other regional groupings. The Community must continue to forge strategic alliances recognizing that their respective strengths and resources can assist the Community in propelling itself towards a platform for strengthened functional cooperation. Expanded intra-regional economic activity is a priority, with intra-regional sea and air-links as crucial assets to both expanded economic activity on the one hand, and the undergirding of a truly “Caribbean” frame of mind on the other, he said. According to CARICOM’s secretary-general Irwin LaRocque, this inter-sessional meeting “should be remembered as the initiator of this era of change, as the heads of government receive the report on the review of the CARICOM Secretariat”. He noted that this review is the first in a series of initiatives towards improving governance arrangements within the Community and will be followed by a review of all organizations and institutions established within the Community. The changes, LaRocque said, will be taking place within an environment of reform within the Community, its organs, bodies and institutions. “It must take into account the way we conduct and govern our affairs. An important part of this process is the need for further prioritization,” said the secretary-general.LaRocque is confident that changes will flow from the recommendations of that report, while the region must be prepared to welcome those changes. “Change will have to be managed; it will not be easy; it will definitely require a new mindset; a new way of doing things,” he warned adding that a new culture must be injected into the organization. Given the magnitude of the task, according to LaRocque, “a change facilitator is necessary to assist in giving the focussed attention it deserves”. He urged that this is among the most immediate and pressing priorities as the integration movement go forward. The Secretariat must become more strategic in its approach to its tasks and its advice to the organs and bodies of the Community. While these steps are necessary, according to the region’s chief diplomat, “the change must start and be led from the top”. During the two-day meeting the heads will, among other issues, address the report regarding the restructuring of the CARICOM secretariat, the grouping’s main administrative body.By Ivan CairoCaribbean News Now contributor Share Sharing is caring! 11 Views   one commentcenter_img LocalNews CARICOM leaders call for ‘new beginning’ by: – March 9, 2012 Share Tweetlast_img read more