China’s daily coal output hits annual high, easing power supply shortage
Published: Nov 06, 2021 01:23 PM
A coal mine in Xiaoyi City, Shanxi Province Photo: VCG

A coal mine in Xiaoyi City, Shanxi Province Photo: VCG

China's coal supply shortage has eased significantly after a series of measures to ramp up coal production to ensure power supply and a warm winter for the Chinese people, according to the country's top economic planner.

China's daily coal output continued to rise, hitting 11.88 million tons on Thursday, the highest level in recent years, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement on Friday.

Since the start of November, China's average daily coal output has reached 11.53 million tons, up more than 800,000 tons from early October. Based on the current growth of coal production, China's daily coal output is expected to break above 12 million tons in the near future, the NDRC said.

Meanwhile, coal inventories at power plants across the country totaled 112 million tons on Wednesday, enough to sustain national usage for 20 days. In particular, coal-fired power plants in the three Northeast provinces - Heilongjiang, Liaoning, and Jilin - have stocked coal inventories sufficient to sustain 32 days of usage. It is expected that coal-fired power plants in China will continue to stock more inventories, the NDRC said in another statement published on its website.

Generally speaking, coal stockpiles for 20 days of usage is a landmark indicator, meaning power plants are not in shortage of coal as their inventories have clawed back to normal levels.

In September, a coal shortage saw low coal stockpiles - less than seven days - at several power plants and prompted local authorities to announce power blackouts for some factories.

In order to tackle the power crunch, the NDRC and other authorities have rolled out various measures such as allowing some mines to boost coal production and loosening restrictions on the country's coal-fired power pricing mechanism.

As a result, China's coal market has stabilized and seen a significant improvement. So far, the coal inventory at Qinhuangdao port, a major transporting hub for coal supplies in northern China, exceeded 5.2 million tons on Friday, up 28.92 percent compared with the same period last month.

Eased supply shortage has also sent coal prices down. As of the market close on Friday, the most traded January thermal coal contract on the Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange reached 975 yuan ($152) per ton, plunging nearly 50 percent from the historic high of 1,982 yuan per ton recorded on October 19.

Global Times