Coal stockpiles at Qinhuangdao port fluctuated at around 5 million tonnes, given no clear increases in both coal railings and handling.
Data from sxcoal.com showed coal stocks at the port were 5.03 million tonnes on July 10, increasing 125,000 tonnes from early July, up 825,000 tonnes from a month ago but falling 895,000 tonnes from the year-ago level.
In July, daily coal railings to Qinhuangdao port dropped 36,800 tonnes from June to 524,200 tonnes, while daily handling decreased by 13,300 tonnes to 517,200 tonnes.
The daily number of anchoring ships at the port increased 2.23 month on month, while the number of vessels expected to arrive at the port dropped 1.53.
Coal miners targeting sales to local or inland buyers witnessed good profit amid supply tightness. This led to a decrease in coal inflows to northern transfer ports where prices remained lower than cost.
Sxcoal.com learned coal supply was still tight in Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia as local miners lacked coal sales quotas. Limited cargoes led to a large number of trucks waiting in line and low transport efficiency. Around 30% of truckers in some companies were given holiday to enhance efficiency.
Source with transport firms said the core reason for the move was decreased coal shipment, with daily delivery down to current 30,000 tonnes from 70,000 tonnes a year ago at railway station.
Coal stocks at China's major coal-fired power plants continued climbing up, with stocks reaching a high of 136 million tonnes on July 5 compared with same period in history, which were enough to cover 26 days of consumption.
Key power plants' coal inventory increased to a high of 86 million tonnes on July 4, enough for 22 days of usage.
Meanwhile, recent strong rainfalls in East and South China regions will further boost hydropower generation and squeeze demand for thermal power, thus easing buying appetite for thermal coal.
Northern China ports saw an increase of only 3.29 million tonnes in coal stockpiles to 20.12 million tonnes as of July 10 compared with a recent low of 16.83 million tonnes on May 31.
Supply shortage also drove railway companies to reduce trains in operation. Hohhot Railway Bureau's daily approval of coal trains dropped to 24 from over 30.
On July 10, northern ports saw a total 94 ships anchoring, down from 95 in early July, with 32 ships at Qinhuangdao port and 33 ships at Huanghua port.
Coal stocks at northern ports are likely to hover within small range in the short run.
(Writing by Tammy Yang Editing by Jessie Jia)
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