China Coal Mining Slips as Efforts to Boost Output Ramp Up

  • Sept. production down 0.4% from August to 276.96 million tons
  • Government recently took measures to allow higher production

China’s coal production dipped in September as government efforts to reverse some output restrictions are still ramping up.

Coal output by the world’s largest miner last month slipped 0.4 percent from August to 276.96 million metric tons, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics on Wednesday. Production dropped 12.3 percent from the same month last year, and has declined 10.5 percent in the first nine months.

Production of the fuel has fallen after the government of President Xi Jinping ordered miners to lower output to the equivalent of 276 days of production, down from 330 days. The nation’s top economic planner fined tuned the policy last month to allow some miners to increase output in an effort to cool prices that surged more than 50 percent this year.

“We haven’t seen any meaningful effect on domestic coal production from the government’s recent measures,” Leo Wu, a Shenzhen-based analyst at Guotai Junan Securities Co., said by phone. “It’s a gradual process for miners to increase output and we may be able to see the output boost in December.”

Inbound coal shipments in September slipped 8.1 percent from the previous month to 24.4 million tons, according to data released by the General Administration of Customs on Oct. 13.

China’s benchmark power-station coal at the port of Qinhuangdao rose to an average of 610 yuan a ton as of Sunday, the highest since May 2013, according to data from the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association. Qinhuangdao coal prices may fall “materially” from current levels as more supplies are expected to hit the market, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. said in a research note this month.

— With assistance by Jing Yang

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