China March coal output up 1.9 pct, first year-on-year gain in two years

A cargo ship is loaded with coal during the opening ceremony of a new dock at the North Korean port of Rajin in this July 18, 2014 file photo. South Korea said on March 8, 2016 it would impose new sanctions against 40 individuals and 30 entities because of suspected links to North Korea's weapons programme and would ban vessels that had stopped at North Korean ports in the past 180 days.  REUTERS/Yuri Maltsev/Files

China’s coal output rose 1.9 percent in March compared with the same month a year earlier, its first year-on-year gain in at least two years, suggesting miners are ramping up production to take advantage of rising prices.

Miners produced 300 million tonnes of coal in March, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Monday, though for the first quarter output dipped 0.3 percent from a year earlier to 809.23 million tonnes.

“Coal production will grow faster in following months as policy makers put a strong emphasis on securing supplies,” said Zhang Min, Zibo-based coal analyst with China Sublime Information Group said.

Supply tightened last year amid a mounting crackdown on illegal mining as work safety regulators reported an increasing number of accidents from coal mines. China’s top coal producing region Shanxi province launched a new campaign against illegal mining last month.

Prices have gained more than 25 percent since the start of this year. The most active thermal coal futures prices hit a five-month high of 644.8 yuan on April 6.

China’s largest miner Shenhua said in its annual report on March 20 that expected to produce 298 million tonnes of coal in 2017, up from 290 million tonnes in 2016.
Source: Reuters

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