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UPDATE 1-China's Jan-Feb coal output dips despite push to raise supplies
March 14, 2017 / 2:31 AM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-China's Jan-Feb coal output dips despite push to raise supplies

(Updating to add detail)

BEIJING, March 14 (Reuters) - China’s coal output fell 1.7 percent in the first two months of the year, even after Beijing urged miners to ramp up output to replenish supplies during the cold winter months, reversing tough measures to cut the country’s reliance on fossil fuels.

Miners produced 506.78 million tonnes of coal in January and February, the National Bureau of Statistics said. That compares with 513.5 million tonnes in the first two months of 2016 and 546.5 million tonnes in 2015.

The Statistics Bureau provided information for January and February together to smooth the impact of the Lunar New Year holiday, and did not give a separate monthly breakdown.

In November, the government lifted a limit on the number of days thermal coal miners can operate each year, in a bid to meet surging demand from utilities during the months-long winter heating season.

Major coal miners have since been pushing for Beijing to reinstate the limits on output after the key winter heating season due to weakening demand and growing supply.

The country’s state planner signaled last week that it will not introduce such drastic measures this year, chastened by last year’s wild markets.

Even so, Beijing continues to crack down on the country’s inefficient and ageing excess mining capacity. The world’s top coal consumer has vowed to cut more than 150 million tonnes of excess capacity this year.

Reporting by Lusha Zhang and Josephine Mason; Editing by Richard Pullin

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