Seaborne met coal demand growth to surpass supply in 2015, Peabody says

Peabody Energy said it expects the demand increase for metallurgical coal imports in 2015 will outpace supply growth for the first time since 2011.

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“Seaborne metallurgical coal supply is expected to be flat in 2015 as modest Australian growth is offset by North American cutbacks,” the US-headquartered coal miner said late on Tuesday January 27.

Peabody expects to sell 15-16 million short tons of metallurgical coal in 2015.

During the December 2014 quarter, the miner sold 5 million tons of the steelmaking raw material, up from 4.2 million tons in the corresponding period in 2013.

This brought its total met coal sales to 17.6 million tons for 2014, compared with 15.9 million tons in 2013, according to the miner’s statement.

In August last year, Peabody said it would lower the production rate at its Burton mine in Queensland, Australia by 1.5 million tpy to 1 million tpy. At the time, it expected its 2014 met coal sales to hit just 15-16 million tons.

The reduced production at Burton partially contributed to an impairment charge of $154.4 million for last year, Peabody said.

The company’s adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) totalled $814 million last year, down from 2013’s adjusted Ebitda of $1.05 billion.