China's coal output recovers in May

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-06-17 16:06

BEIJING — China's coal output continued to recover in May, leading to lower prices as demand remained weak, according to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Coal output rose 12.1 percent year on year to 300 million metric tons last month, NBS figures showed.

The growth was 2.2 percentage points higher than that of April and the third straight month of increase.

The NBS attributed the rise to a low base in the same period of last year and more advanced capacity.

In the first five months of the year, combined coal output expanded 4.3 percent year-on-year to 1.4 billion tons.

Coal imports continued to climb, up 16.6 percent year-on-year to reach 22.2 million tons in May.

The increased supply resulted in falling coal prices, as April and May are low seasons for coal consumption, said the NBS.

The Bohai-Rim Steam-Coal Price Index, a gauge of coal prices in northern China's major ports published weekly, dropped for nine consecutive weeks by the beginning of June.

Analysts believe the prices will be propped up in the coming months as the country's electricity consumption braces for its seasonal peak in summer.

China is the world's largest coal producer and consumer. The industry has long been plagued by overcapacity and has felt the pinch over the past two years as the economy cooled and demand fell.

The government aims to phase out 150 million tons of coal capacity this year. As of the end of May, around 97 million tons of coal capacity had been cut, accounting for 65 percent of the annual goal.

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