Coal

World coal markets heating up

6 January 2005 – World demand for coal has risen significantly over the past year, driven by increased coal use in overseas markets for steel production and by greater consumption for electricity generation. The result has been rising coal prices, mirroring the increased volatility of natural gas in recent years.

The North American and South American coal markets remain particularly vibrant, imposing a significant impact on world coal movements. Some of the key issues and questions facing the industry include:
* The sustainability of the current robust markets, which have dominated the coal industry over the last 15 months. What are the possibilities of increased production that could once again send the industry into recession?
* What is the outlook for Central Appalachian and Powder River Basin coals?
* What is the impact of the increasing influence of international market dynamics on the North American coal industry?
* What will be the result of the arrival of new age Wall Street investors, in particular private equity and hedge funds?
* What are the likely future export volumes from Colombia and Venezuela?
* What new sources of import supply are there for the growing North American markets? Indonesia, Russia, South Africa?
* What is the effect on the U.S. coal industry of continuing high natural gas prices?
* How will the U.S. railroad industry enhance its performance?
* Who will pay for new mining capacity?
* Will strong sea-freight markets remain buoyant?
* What impact will China have on the international coal market?

In late January, Coaltrans Americas 2005 will examine the major influences affecting today’s coal markets. The 4th Coaltrans Americas conference is being held January 31 – February 1 at the Renaissance Beach Resort and Crystal Casino on the Caribbean island of Aruba.

More than 35 leading international speakers will address the conference, and key panel sessions will focus on coal investments and project developments, U.S. imports and the outlook for Colombian and Venezuelan production, the environmental debate, transport logistics and the changing pattern of supplies from the Powder River Basin and Central Appalachia.

The international appeal of Coaltrans Americas stretches far beyond North and South America – at previous events, leading decision-makers have attended from more than 30 countries. More information is available at www.coaltrans.com/americas.