(Adds more details of the meeting)
BEIJING, April 25 Beijing will boost thermal
coal supplies to ensure prices return to a "reasonable" level
and raise inventories in preparation for higher summer demand,
the government said on Tuesday amid concerns about deepening
losses at the nation's utilities.
The statement comes after a meeting between the country's
state economic planner, the National Development and Reform
Commission (NDRC), and utilities on April 14.
It is the strongest sign yet that Beijing is seeking to
prevent a potential coal supply crisis in the world's top user
of the fuel during the hot summer months when power demand
Citing discussions at the internal meeting, the NDRC said
the top five power companies have seen more losses in the first
quarter due to the high cost of coal and lower electricity
prices as part of China's push to liberalise power prices.
Combined profits the top five power companies in the first
quarter declined almost 120 percent versus the year ago period.
The commission add that the risk of overcapacity within the
power sector continues to grow as the utilization rate of power
stations goes down.
The NDRC forecasts electricity consumption to grow 5 percent
in the second quarter, down from the first quarter.
(Reporting by Meng Meng and Josephine Mason; Editing by