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Coal Industry Forecasts Increase in Consumption This Year

January 31, 1993

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) _ The coal industry predicts consumption will edge higher this year and allow it to trim stockpiles from two consecutive mild winters.

The National Coal Association estimates consumption will increase to 1.010 billion tons in 1993 from 1.008 billion tons at the end of 1992. Meanwhile, production likely will remain stable at about 1 billion tons, the industry association said.

The increase will come primarily from higher demand for electricity, said National Coal Association President Richard Lawson. About 80 percent of the coal produced in the U.S. goes to generate electricity.

The estimate is based upon forecasts made before November’s presidential election that the economy would grow at an annual rate of 2.6 percent during 1993.

The anticipated slow growth is the result of slower population growth, cuts in U.S. military spending and the slow recovery of foreign economies, according to coal association analysts.

″Needless to say, the outlook for 1993 will depend in great part on the economic policies of the Clinton administration,″ Lawson said.

Coal production in 1992 increased 1.2 percent from the previous year, but did not match the industry record of 1.029 billion tons set in 1990.

Wyoming led the nation in coal production in 1992, while West Virginia came in second and Kentucky third. But Wyoming and Kentucky’s production declined in 1992 from 1991 levels, by 2.7 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, while West Virginia’s grew by 3.1 percent.

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