SOURCE: The Bedford Report

The Bedford Report

June 22, 2011 08:16 ET

US Coal Producers Brace for Weak Demand

The Bedford Report Provides Investment Research on Patriot Coal and Peabody Energy

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Jun 22, 2011) - While coal demand in Europe and the United States remains stagnant, emerging markets have played a critical role in coal's renaissance this year. Specifically, coal shortages in China heading into the peak electricity demand season could lead to the country boosting coal imports. The Bedford Report examines the outlook for companies in the coal industry and provides equity research on Patriot Coal Corporation (NYSE: PCX) and Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE: BTU). Access to the full company reports can be found at:

According to Genscape, US coal consumption is on the downswing as nuclear plant restarts have cut demand for coal-fired power. Last week the firm reported that overall coal demand was down 8.8 percent last week compared to a year earlier. The US, which holds the world's largest reserves of coal, relies on the fuel for about 47 percent of power generation, compared with about 30 percent for natural gas.

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Even demand for hot-burning metallurgical (met) coal used to make steel is on the downturn. In 2011, global trade in metallurgical coal is forecast to increase a mere 1% to 260 million mt, with higher imports from India and China being partially offset by lower imports from Japan, according to ABARES.

US met coal prices, in particular have been on the downswing this month. Devastating floods in Queensland, Australia had previously boosted US met coal demand. With production recovering, Queensland will remain the world's largest exporter of metallurgical coal with close to a 60% share of the global seaborne market, ABARES said.

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