(EnergyAsia, October 8 2012, Monday) — Boosted by huge sales increases to China and Europe, US coal exports surged 39.1% to 37.53 million short tons (mmst) in the second quarter compared with the same period last year, said the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

China became the largest market for US coal in the second quarter when it imported a record volume of 5.618 million short tons, up nearly 4.8 times from a year-ago when it took in just 973,262 mmst.

For the first half of 2012, China imported a total of nearly 7.62 mmst of coal from the US, easily beating the Netherlands (6.74 mmst) and Italy (5.02 mmst) into second and third.

The EIA said US exported 17.4 mmst of steam coal used for power generation and 20.2 mmst of metallurgical coal for steel production.

US coal production fell 8.7% in the second quarter to 241.4 mst, and was 5.6% lower for the first half to 537.8 mst, compared to their respective periods last year.

According to the EIA, Wyoming state led with a 13.8% plunge in its coal production from year-ago levels.