Increased Chinese imports, supply rationalization globally and higher steel demand have combined to put demand for low-volatile met coal back in balance, he said in releasing the Canonsburg, Pennsylvania-based company’s second-quarter earnings.

Corsa has benefited from met coal’s upward price movement, with the company receiving more international sales opportunities both in Europe and Asia, he said. Domestic met coal pricing also has been pushed upward, he added.

“We believe the move up in prices has been driven by an improvement in the fundamentals and the stage is set for a continued rise in the second half of 2016,” Dethlefsen said. “The five-year downward cycle for metallurgical coal pricing that we have recently emerged from has been the longest and deepest in the last 60 years.”

Despite the upward trend in 2016, however, Dethlefsen noted that met coal prices remain at levels approximately 70% below their 2011 peak. As a result, Corsa remains focused on fixed and variable cost reduction initiatives.

He said a large volume of April export shipments reduced Corsa’s average realized met sales price per ton in the second quarter, and had a negative impact on profitability. The effect of higher export prices already has been realized in third-quarter shipments, though, and is expected to favorably impact profitability for the remainder of 2016, he said.

Corsa has scaled back production levels in its Central Appalachian division in response to market conditions for steam coal. But in the coming months, he said production levels have the potential to increase based upon ongoing steam and industrial coal market opportunities.

Corsa sold 306,000 tons of coal in the April-June period, down from 485,000 tons a year earlier. The company is forecasting full 2016 year sales of 1.35 million to 1.65 million tons. The company posted a net loss of $1.7 million in the second quarter, compared to a $346,000 profit in the year-ago quarter. Revenue decreased in the latest quarter to $18.6 million from $39.6 million in the second quarter of 2015.

Dethlefsen said Corsa is focused on growth opportunities, both organically and through acquisitions. “With the continued improvement in metallurgical coal markets, we will actively seek to add to our production and sales volumes through projects with attractive rates of return,” he said.