China’s Oct coal output slips amid waning supply concerns, safety push

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s October coal output slipped by 1.1% from September’s six-month high, official data showed on Wednesday, amid signs that supply concerns have eased and an ongoing safety push.

The world’s largest coal producer mined 388.8 million tons of the fuel last month, according to data from the National Bureau of Statistics.

That was however up by 3.8% from the year-earlier level.

China is giving power utilities more flexibility in signing long-term contracts for 2024, a sign that supply concerns have waned amid surging output and imports.

Ongoing efforts to improve coal mine safety in recent months have also limited coal output, after two accidents killing more than 60 people spurred the mine safety administration to announce revisions to China’s mine safety law in September.

Analysts from the China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association (CCTD), an industry association, said output for the fourth quarter could be lower than anticipated amid the ongoing mine safety push.

In early November, China’s emergency management ministry called for curbs on over-production at coal mines to prevent accidents. China’s top coal production hub of Shanxi also called for heightened safety checks during the fourth quarter.

Coal output over the first ten months of 2023 stood at 3.83 billion tons, up 3.1% compared with the same period last year.

(Reporting by Colleen Howe; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)