Company officials have forecast an increase of up to 60 million tons in U.S. coal demand, with higher natural gas prices prompting utilities to revert to coal. Thermal coal, however, remains weak with Peabody officials expecting U.S. demand to fall to 5% to 10% from 2012 levels.

2013 met coal prices, on the other hand, are set to make a comeback in wake of China’s buoyant steel prices. “Recent data suggests China’s growth is again accelerating, and we have seen some rebound in global coal prices,” said CEO Gregory Boyce.

Peabody is targeting sales of 230 million to 250 million tons for the year, compared with 248 million tons in 2012.