CS came out with a new forecast for nat gas prices over the next 3 years. They show $ 3.90 average for 2014, $ 4.20 for 2015 and $ 4.40 for 2015. Those numbers are about 30 cents lower than CS's last forecast, and lower than consensus and IHS forecasts. I suspect the forecasts are all pretty worthless, except that they show the numbers that today's investors are using. And those numbers aren't good for thermal coal.
I would think we will get some spikes and drops in the numbers over the years, but I would have to think that nat gas producers will shut in wells big time if the CS forecasts are right. And that, of course, would make the forecasts wrong. But for now, I don't see much good news in the story for coal.
I think the basic problem here is that a. Natural gas supplies are growing a lot faster than electrical power demand and b. three more years of Team Obama should stomp thermal coal pretty good. I'm guessing that President Hillary will continue pushing thermal coal underground...so really think steel demand and MET coal. Worldwide steel demand soars and so does NRP. There might be some help in 2017 when the exports in LNG get started...and by then India, Pakistan, and China should be importing thermal coal in much bigger numbers,too.