China's coke output increased 1.2% from a year ago to 39.72 million tonnes in December, although the year-on-year growth narrowed 3.3 percentage points from the preceding month, according to official data released on January 18.
Higher coke profit and demand last month compared with the same period in 2019 encouraged coke producers to maintain strong production enthusiasm in December.
The figure, however, dropped 1.83% lower compared with a month earlier, showed data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), as capacity reduction gathered pace in the final month of 2020, and both production and sales were affected by frequent environmental checks last month.
Production reduction further tightened supply in December, when downstream demand remained stronger-than-expected, continuously pulling coke prices to new highs.
On January 18, some coke producers in Hebei and Shandong proposed to raise coke prices by 100 yuan/t, marking the 14th price hike, which will bring the total increase to 900 yuan/t since mid-August 2020 if accepted by steel mills.
(Writing by Emma Yang Editing by Harry Huo)
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