BEIJING, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- China's coal price index was 414.07 in September, up 11.99 percent from August and 22.71 percent from a year earlier, said the country's top economic planner on Tuesday.
Since June 2016, the coal price index has been rising for four consecutive months, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said.
Regional data show that coal prices in Hebei, Chongqing and Shandong saw faster month-on-month increase, with prices in northern Hebei rising 19.33 percent, southern Hebei 22.66 percent, Chongqing 19.64 percent and Shandong 17.76 percent.
Insiders said that since the beginning of this year, the country has actively promoted the supply-side structural reform which helped ease the supply-and-demand imbalance of the coal market. From a long-term perspective, coal consumption will continue to decline with increasing overcapacity pressure, so it remains an arduous task to keep coal prices stable.
The top economic planner has said that the country's coal price will stabilize and shore up coal production. New coal supplies helped major thermal power plants increase their inventory by some 5.28 million tonnes in September, according to an online statement of the NDRC.
On Sept. 23 and Sept. 27, two ministerial meetings on winter coal supply agreed to release certainly advanced production capacity to ensure supply.
It also decided to relax a limit on the number of production days for efficient coal producers, with the former 260-day cap increased to a maximum of 330 days. The original limit, had it been followed, would have cut production by over 500 million tonnes in 2016.
At a press conference on Sept. 23, an NDRC official attributed the price rise to increasing coal consumption, a crackdown on illegal production, as well as transport and logistical problems.