U.S. coal production rose to about 20.3 million short tons during the week ended September 15, up 1.4% from the previous week but down 6.8% from a year ago, the Energy Information Administration said.

Production from coal mines east of the Mississippi River rose about 240,000 tons to 8.21 million tons, while output west of the river rose 200,000 tons to 11.99 million tons

So far this year, U.S. coal production, at 726.5 million tons, is down 5.1% from the same period in 2011.

Central Appalachian coal averaged $63.85 per ton during the week ended September 14, unchanged from the previous two weeks but down 20% from around $80.20 a year earlier. In NYMEX futures trading, Central Appalachian coal futures for October delivery settled at $52.53 per ton on September 19, down from $53.95 at the end of last week.

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