March 24, 2017 / 8:40 AM / 3 years ago

China state planner says will target low quality coal imports

BEIJING, March 24 (Reuters) - China’s top planning agency aims to control the output and import of low quality coal, according to a statement posted on the its website on Friday, the first official confirmation China is trying to rein in supply and reduce domestic overcapacity.

This follows a sharp decline in coal imports in February, as shipments fell to 12-month-low.

The statement gave no details, but a crackdown on low-quality imports could potentially reduce imports from producers such as Indonesia and Mongolia.

Speaking earlier this month on the sidelines of China’s annual parliament meeting, the vice governor of Shanxi province suggested targeting coal from Indonesia, which accounted for 15 percent of China’s total imports last year.

Traders have already reported delays to their coal import cargoes due to quality control checks by customs.

China’s planner, the National Reform and Development Commission, also repeated a goal to stabilize coal prices, but said it sees difficulties in balancing the market this year due to uncertainties in temperature and high demand in some regions. (Reporting by Meng Meng and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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