SINGAPORE — China’s daily coal output in August slipped to a three-month low as some mines in its biggest coal mining regions reduced operations or even shut down due to heavy rainfall and COVID-19 curbs.
China, the world’s top coal producer, mined 370.44 million tonnes of the fossil fuel last month, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Friday, equivalent to 11.95 million tonnes per day.
That compares with 10.81 million tonnes per day in August last year and 12.02 million tonnes per day in July.
Over the first eight months, China churned out 2.93 billion tonnes of coal, up 11% from a year earlier.
The month-on-month drop came as some coal mines in top mining regions Inner Mongolia and Shaanxi suspended or lowered output from mid-August following heavy rain and an outbreak of COVID that triggered curbs on businesses.
Average operational rates at 442 coal mines in Shanxi, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia were 82.4% in August, the lowest level since February, when most mines shut down for the Lunar New Year holiday, according to data tracked by China Coal Transport and Distribution Association.
But coal output was still supported by strong seasonal demand, and Beijing’s urge to ensure market supply.
Coal-fired power generation climbed to a near-record level of 9.89 terrawatt-hours on Aug. 20, according to data analytics consultancy Kayrros, as a heatwave hit most of the country, stoking air-conditioning demand, while hydropower generation was curbed by severe drought. (Reporting by Muyu Xu; Editing by Bradley Perrett)