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China's top coal miners agree on term contracts at 535 yuan/t

(Reuters)
Updated: 2016-11-11 09:56
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    China's state planner said two of the nation's top coal mines had signed long-term supply contracts with utilities at 535 yuan ($79) per tonne, a quarter below current spot market rates, as the government ramps up its efforts to cool the red-hot market.

    Shenhua Energy Co and ChinaCoal Energy Co agreed to the terms for long-term deals which start as soon as Dec. 1, Xu Kunlin, vice secretary general of the National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC), said at a briefing on Wednesday.

    This is the first time the NDRC has held a press briefing to discuss this year's historical coal price rally and concerns about tight supplies of the raw material used by utilities.

    Thermal coal prices have hit fresh records on an almost daily basis in recent weeks after government-enforced closures earlier this year tightened supplies for utilities, triggering a scramble for raw materials ahead of the winter.

    Getting miners to fix prices has been a key part of the government's effort to tame the price spike that it says is unjustified by fundamentals. The news on Wednesday follows a series of radical changes to the way China, the world's top energy market, prices the commodity.

    On Tuesday, three major China's main commodity exchanges launched a series of fee hikes and margin increases for some of their most volatile, niche contracts including coal as authorities cracked down on speculation.

    The NDRC, which has pledged to ensure coal supplies over the winter months, said it was investigating a Shanxi-based coal data firm because its data "has problems".

    While the NDRC did not give any details on the probe, FenWei Energy, also a Shanxi-based coal data company, suspended its spot physical thermal coal price index - used as the domestic industry benchmark - saying its prices did not reflect the majority of business transacted in the country.

    FenWei also said it was sorry for "causing the unnecessary fluctuations in prices".

 

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