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Fitch Predicts Stronger Future for Coal
Thursday September 6, 5:15 pm ET
Fitch Ratings Forecasts Improvement in Fundamentals for Coal Sector

NEW YORK (AP) -- Fundamentals for the U.S. coal industry should improve in the near-term as increases in exports and electricity generation come together with lower inventory levels, Fitch Ratings said in a report Thursday.

The ratings service predicts that "robust demand" for the commodity will continue throughout 2007, especially from power generators.

Also, Fitch said prices will be pushed up as supply tightens because of traffic bottlenecks and outages, less availability of labor and equipment, environmental concerns and "a challenging regulatory environment."

Earnings growth across the sector, however, "will be constrained by a number of factors," Fitch said, including higher prices for fuel, explosives and steel, labor costs, and the tightened supply of machinery parts.

Anyone on board BTU besides me?

Denny Schlesinger
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