NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwire) -- 03/15/13 -- The U.S. coal industry has endured some major struggles over the past few years. Tighter regulations on emission and increased competition from cheap natural gas have been major factors in the coal Industry's sharp decline. The Market Vectors-Coal ETF (KOL) has fallen over 30 percent in the past year. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Coal Industry and provides equity research on Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. (NYSE: ANR) and Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE: BTU).
While domestic demand for coal has dwindled, foreign demand for coal looks to be on the rise. In 2012, China was the largest importer of coal with a total of 290 million tons, a year-over-year increase of 59 percent. Through the first two months of 2013 China imported 53.85 million tons of coal, an increase of 34.3 percent when compared to a year ago, according to customs data.
The United Kingdom is set to become more dependent on foreign coal after two major coal producers, UK Coal and Scottish Coal, announced mine closures earlier this month. According to a recent Reuters article, traders have stated coal imports are likely to see an increase of 70 percent due to the closures.
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Alpha is a leading global coal company and the world's third largest metallurgical coal supplier. The company has the production capacity of nearly 126 million tons of steam and metallurgical coal. Alpha reported a net loss of 128 million for the fourth quarter of 2012, compared to a net loss of $793 million in the year ago quarter. Chinese coking coal imports rose 30 percent from November to December 2012.
Peabody Energy serves high-growth markets, lighting lives and fueling economies in more than 25 nations on six continents. The company is advancing a lengthy pipeline of projects and partnerships in China with leading energy, coal and steel companies. Peabody reported revenues for the full year 2012 increased 2 percent year-over-year to a record $8.08 billion.
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