Long-term coal forecasts double as prices soar

Coal prices have surged in recent weeks following disruptive snowstorms in China and floods in Australia, cutting output.

Analysts have revised long-term price forecasts amid the supply constriction. In a February research report, Merrill Lynch said that Australian coal contract prices, a benchmark for Asia, will probably surge to more than $220 a ton, excluding freight and insurance, in the year starting April 1. Prior to the floods in Australia, Merrill's forecast had been for $140 a ton.