Business / Industries

China's coal output to top 3.7b tons

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-12-19 16:37

BEIJING - China's coal production will reach more than 3.7 billion tons this year despite sagging market demand, an industry chief has predicted.

Although coal output, imports and stocks continue to increase, the consumption of the mineral remains slack, Wang Xianzheng, chairman of the China Coal Industry Association, said at a forum on Wednesday.

In the first 11 months of 2012, coal output totaled 3.51 billion tons, according to the association.

In the period, coal imports stood at 245 million tons, and should reach 250 million tons in the year, its data showed.

The import figure is slightly lower than the 290 million tons in coal stockpiles recorded by the end of November, indicating huge destocking pressure in the market.

In contrast, coal consumption expanded at a slower pace, chipping away at corporate profits. Consumption reached 3.72 billion tons from January to November, with annual growth rate in the period down 5.6 percentage points compared to the pervious year.

Meanwhile, combined profits at 90 major Chinese coal producers plunged 22.2 percent from a year earlier between January and October, according to the data.

Despite the overproduction, Wang forecast supply shortages in the long term. He estimated coal consumption would reach between 4.8 billion tons and 5.3 billion tons by 2020.

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