Signs Of A Strengthening Coal Market In Quarterly Results

Oct 28, 2016

A water truck sprays down dust at Cloud Peak Energy's Antelope coal mine in this file photo from June 2, 2016.
Credit Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Radio

Things are looking up in the coal market, but 2017 is still going to be a tough year—that was the message from Cloud Peak Energy’s CEO during the company’s latest earnings calls.

Colin Marshall said a hot summer helped boost demand for coal domestically, as power plants ramped up to meet electricity demand for air conditioning. But the company’s coal shipments are still down by 26 percent from the same period last year.

“Things have turned significantly in the right direction but we’d like to see how the next few months play out to get a firm, a better understanding of how next year should be," Marshall said. "But it’s certainly looking better than it was a few months ago.”

One bright spot for Cloud Peak is a new contract to ship coal overseas. The company has been bleeding money in that part of its business recently because of decreased demand abroad.

Cloud Peak says the new international shipments will break even and may even generate a small profit.