China’s coal production drops

Coal production fell in China last year for the first time in 14 years, the country’s coal industry said.

China produced 3.5 billion metric tons of coal from January to November last year, a 2.1 percent drop from the previous year, the state-owned Xinhua News Agency reported, citing figures from the China National Coal Association.

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The group estimated that full-year production will come in 2.5 percent below 2013.

China is, by far, the largest producer and consumer of coal in the world, according the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA).

It produced 4.02 billion short tons of coal in 2012, the last year for which EIA has data available, and consumed 4.15 billion short tons. China accounts for 46 percent of coal production internationally and 49 percent of consumption, almost outpacing the rest of the world combined.

But China is also trying to limits its carbon emissions. It agreed last year that its carbon emissions would peak in 2030 and decrease from there.

China also agreed to dramatically increase its use of renewable energy.

According to the Xinhua report, stockpiles at coal companies at the end of the year were 2.6 percent above the beginning of the year, while reserves at power plants were up 17.1 percent.

Coal companies’ profits, meanwhile, plunged 44.4 percent in the first 11 months of 2014 when compared with 2013.

Xinhua blamed the poor figures on slowing coal demand, overcapacity and increase imports.