China coal output hits record in Nov to ensure winter supply

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FILE PHOTO - Dunes of low-grade coal are seen near a coal mine in Ruzhou, Henan province, China November 4, 2021. REUTERS/Aly Song

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BEIJING, Dec 15 (Reuters) - China's coal output hit a record high in November as Beijing urged miners to ramp up production to ensure sufficient energy supplies in the winter heating season.

China, the world's biggest coal miner and consumer, produced 370.84 million tonnes of the dirty fossil fuel last month, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Wednesday.

That compares to a previous record of 357.09 million tonnes set in October and was up 4.6% from the same period last year.

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For the first 11 months of 2021, output reached 3.67 billion tonnes, up 4.2% on last year.

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The central government has repeatedly stressed the need to ensure supplies of energy, including coal and natural gas, for heating and power generation over the winter period.

Coal miners have been ordered by authorities since October to run at maximum capacity as Beijing strived to tame red-hot coal prices and prevent a recurrence of September's nationwide power crunch that disrupted industrial operations and added to factory gate inflation.

Coal prices, however, have been supported by concerns that recent crackdowns on illegal mining in China's top coal producing region could limit the country's ability to boost its output. read more

The most-active thermal coal futures contract held steady on Wednesday, up 0.1% to 717.8 yuan a tonne, less than half the record high it hit in mid-October.

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Reporting by Muyu Xu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Shri Navaratnam, Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Lincoln Feast.

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