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Alpha Natural sees seaborne demand for met, thermal coal to grow in 2013

The company said, "In terms of exports, the U.S. is on pace for a record year with export volumes reaching 88M tons by the end of August, including 40M tons of steam coal, a 66% year-over-year increase, and 48M tons of met, a modest 3% year-over-year increase. However, slack demand and ample supply have resulted in lower seaborne prices, and, as expected, U.S. exports have slowed since mid-year in the face of these cyclical market headwinds. Looking past the current market downturn, seaborne demand for both met and thermal coal is expected to grow in the mid-single digits in 2013 and beyond...Alpha will seek to expand its export thermal business while ensuring that it has sufficient capacity to take advantage of the relatively higher-margin export opportunities for its metallurgical coal, with Alpha already ranking third globally in annual shipment volumes."