Is The Coal Supercycle Back?
After reading the quarterly report for Peabody Energy (BTU), one has to wonder if the coal supercycle is back. A few years back the CEO proclaimed that coal had begun a long-term surge in demand yet the stock began a major slump as new mines and higher costs caused profits to plummet. As US investors remain focused on last year's domestic switch to natural gas from thermal coal, the global demand for coal remains as strong as ever.
One major theme highlights the global demand picture for coal. Where alternative fuel prices are cheap, consumers prefer that source whether natural gas, nuclear, or alternative fuels. In the cases where alternatives don't exist or are no longer deemed appealing, coal demand is set to grow dramatically. The situation in the US is incorrectly framed as a preference for a cleaner alternative to coal, but the scenario might see a dramatic shift as natural gas prices soar in 2013.
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