U.S. coal output to fall in 2009: EIA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. coal production and exports should fall next year as global demand ebbs, the federal Energy Information Administration said on Tuesday.

U.S. coal production should fall 2.6 percent in 2009 to 1,148 million tons on “an expected decline in electricity consumption, combined with projected increases in other generation sources” including nuclear, natural gas, petroleum and wind power, the EIA said in its monthly short term energy outlook.

U.S. coal exports are expected to fall by 11 million tons in 2009 to 71.9 million tons, or 13 percent, on weak global demand, the EIA said. Coal exports in 2008 were expected to rise 40 percent from 2007 on strong demand and production disruptions in Australia, South Africa and China. The disruptions have since ended.

Reporting by Timothy Gardner; editing by Jim Marshall