November 14, 2017 / 2:48 AM / 8 days ago

China October coal output climbs year-on-year ahead of heating season

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s coal production rose in October from a year earlier, government data sowed on Tuesday, with miners ramping up output ahead of the winter heating season.

China produced 283.54 million tonnes of coal in October, up 1.5 percent from a year ago, the data from the National Statistics Bureau showed.

The October volume was the lowest level for a year, but that was probably impacted by the week-long public holiday that falls in the month.

Output over the first 10 months of 2017 reached 2.85 billion tonnes, up 4.8 percent from the same period a year ago.

China’s northeastern province of Heilongjiang slashed its target for coal mine capacity cuts after utilities struggled to find enough fuel for their plants.

China considers the start of the heating season in the northern part of the country to be on Nov. 15, ending March 15.

Coal prices CZCcv1 rose to 640.4 yuan ($96.46) a tonne on Tuesday. Prices fell as low as 605 yuan a tonne in early October after touching a record of 667.4 yuan on Sept. 19.

The utilization rate for the coal mining and coal washing sectors rose to 69 percent in the third quarter, up 10.6 percentage points from same period a year ago, reaching the highest level since 2015, the statistics bureau said in a statement on Monday.

“There is still upside potential for coal industry to increase the utilization rate as it takes time for miners to release high-quality coal capacity and to resume production after meeting environmental and safety standards,” the bureau said in the statement.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Joseph Radford

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