Teck Resources Ltd, North America’s largest producer of steel-making coal, reported better-than-expected quarterly results, helped by higher realized prices.

Realized prices of steelmaking coal were 155.5 per cent higher at US$207 in the quarter, the company said on Wednesday.

Net profit attributable to Teck shareholders was $697 million or $1.21 per share, for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with a loss of $459 million, or 80 cents per share a year ago.

Excluding items, Teck earned $1.61 per share in the latest reported quarter, beating analysts’ estimate of $1.56.

Coking coal prices have, however, fallen sharply since November, after the huge rally that was driven by Chinese demand.

This was partly because steel output in China was higher than expected. However, the production of domestic coking coal, which is used to make steel, was crimped by government policies causing China to rely more on foreign coal, which sent prices soaring.

Teck recorded an impairment charge of US$194 million for the quarter, due to increased capital costs for its Fort Hill project. Last year, the company booked one-time charges of C$536 million.

Revenue rose 67 per cent to $3.56 million, from $2.14 billion.

© Thomson Reuters 2017