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It would be slightly up from its 2013 met coal sales of 15.9 million tonnes.

“Seaborne metallurgical coal supply growth is expected to moderate in 2014, as most projects that were started in a higher-priced environment are completed and industry investment is dramatically reduced

“US metallurgical coal exports have declined by an estimated 12% through March, and Australia export growth is expected to slow as the year progresses,” Peabody said.

The miner sold 3.2 million tonnes of metallurgical coal during the first quarter of this year, down from 3.6 million tonnes recorded for the corresponding period in 2013.

Peabody expects ongoing urbanisation and industrialisation in China and India to lead to a 10-15% growth in seaborne metallurgical coal demand from 2013 to 2016.