Beijing - Coal supply seemed to have caught up following lagging behind outflows at northern transfer ports, and meanwhile power plants’ coal burns stayed high on the whole. Coal stocks started to bounce back 2.8% from the week prior to 6.66 million tonnes as of December 11, following fortnight-long declines to hit a two-month trough of 6.48 million tonnes on December 4, showed data from industrial portal sxcoal.com. Last week, coal handlings at Bohai-rim ports decreased, as shipping was interrupted by strong winds. Coal throughput has dropped by 17.8% to 601,000 tonnes on December 11 at Qinhuangdao port after a high of 731,000 tonnes eight days earlier, data showed. Rail coal inflows at the port have stayed above outflows since December 5, indicating a strong pickup of inventories. By contrast, coal stockpiles kept declining at SDIC Caofeidian port, and its daily coal handling also slid 7% on the week to 171,000 tonnes during the past week, attributed mainly to the interrupted shipping amid adverse weather condition. Industry insiders expect power plants may continue to ramp up coal stocks in the short run, as their daily coal burns stays high at present and the state planner has rolled out a policy to regulate utilities’ coal stocks.
The National Development and Reform Commission has put its newly-released coal stocks system on trial run recently, which requires power plants’ lowest coal stocks to be no less than their average levels in recent three years. The policy is expected to drive some power companies holding low stocks to increase purchases of spot coal at northern ports. Daily coal consumption of six major coastal power companies exceeded 700,000 tonnes on December 7 and stayed above the level for subsequent four days. Their average daily coal burns stood at 682,000 tonnes last week, up 5.4% from 647,000 tonnes a week earlier, showed data from sxcoal.com. Coal outflows are likely to rebound in the short run when the weather condition improves, according to sources.