China April coal output falls to 8-months low as mine safety checks bite

Lao Ye Temple mine. (Image by LHOON | Flickr Commons.)

China’s coal production slowed in April to the lowest level since July 2020, curbed by ongoing safety inspections at major coal mines following several accidents across the country.

China churned out 322.22 million tonnes of coal last month, down 1.8% from the same period a year ago, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday.

Output over the first four months of the year reached 1.29 billion tonnes, up 11.1% on year.

Physical thermal coal prices had soared by 20% over the month to May 10, prompting at least three leading Chinese coal pricing indexes to suspend daily price assessments to try to stabilise the market.

The jump followed worries over increasing demand for coal for power generation and industrial activity amid tepid domestic output and stringent imports restrictions for Australian coal.

China’s April power consumption rose 13.2% from the same period last year to 636.1 billion kilowatt-hours.

The statistic bureau on Monday also said production of coke used in steelmaking rose 2.4% in April to 39.34 million tonnes, with year-to-date output rising 7.4% to 158.62 million tonnes.

(By Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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