February 5, 2013 / 1:00 PM / in 5 years

Weak coal prices push Arch Coal into loss

Feb 5 (Reuters) - Arch Coal Inc, the second-largest coal miner in the United States by production, reported a quarterly loss as prices fell for both steel-making and power-generating coal.

The company reported a net loss of $295.4 million, or $1.39 per share, for the fourth quarter, compared with a profit of $70.9 million, or 33 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell about 19 percent to $968.2 million.

Demand for thermal coal has plunged in the United States as electric utilities switch to cheaper natural gas. Exports have also shrunk due to weak demand for steel-making coal from China and Europe.

Prices for Newcastle thermal coal fell 16 percent last year, while global prices for steel-making coal are down 50 percent from their 2011 highs.

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