China produced 3.45 billion tonnes of raw coal in 2017, a year-on-year rise of 3.2%, showed deta released by the National Bureau of Statistics on January 18.
Last month, the world's top coal miners churned out their highest raw coal output of 314.87 million tonnes since December 2015, despite strict safety inspection at the end of 2017. It was 1.1% higher from a year ago and up 4.96% from the month prior.
China's coal miners ramped up output to their highest in years in December, in a rush to feed unexpectedly strong demand from millions of homes as natural gas shortages triggered a winter heating crisis.
The jump came as millions of homes across northern China used more electricity and gas to heat their homes after being forced to switch from coal.
The January coal output may decline slightly considering mines suspension ahead of the Spring Festival.
China's thermal coal market has shown signs of stabilizing after nearly two-month rally, as market sentiment was dented by top miners' 15-20 yuan/t price cut these days.
On December 29, the Fenwei CCI Thermal index showed domestic 5,5 00 Kcal/kg NAR coal was at 708 yuan/t FOB with VAT, which was up 93 yuan/t from the start of 2017. The price uptrend was driven by firm downstream demand and tightened supply, partly due to closure of small mines in nationwide de-capacity drive.
Yet, an overall excess of coal capacity still plagues China. At present, coal mines in the country have combined production capacity of 5.1-5.2 billion tonnes per annum (Btpa), of which operating capacity totals 3.9 Btpa and capacity under construction or technological upgrading is 1.2-1.3 Btpa, said a Wang Xianzheng, director of China National Coal Association.
By 2020, China may see a net increase of 300-400 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa) in operating capacity at mines. Net coal imports of the country will reach some 200 million tonnes in the year.
(Writing by Jessie Jia Editing by Harry Huo)
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