Coking Coal May Rebound as China Restocks Steel, Barclays Says

Metallurgical coal may rebound from the lowest prices since 2009 as China rebuilds steel supplies, Barclays Plc (BARC)’s investment-banking unit said in a report today.

The increased consumption comes after companies from Appalachia to Australia tempered output in an effort to help stem declines and as a loading berth at Westshore Terminals Investment Corp. (WTE)’s operation in Vancouver may be shut until the end of the first quarter after a Dec. 7 accident.

Barclays said the destocking of steel has been more pronounced than usual and that China’s inventories haven’t fallen in either of the past two weeks for the first time since February. The country typically begins to restock in late December, weeks before the Chinese New Year, the London-based bank said.

“This bodes well for a recovery in global seaborne met- coal prices in the coming months,” David Gagliano, an analyst at Barclays in New York, said in the note. Barclays said first- quarter benchmark settlements of $165 a metric ton may mark the low for 2013.

Prices are down 50 percent from the record $330 a metric ton set in the second quarter of 2011 after floods in Queensland, Australia, ravaged production, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

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