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China's NDRC puts Chinese domestic coal traders and producers on notice

Singapore — China's central economic planner, the National Development and Reform Commission, said Friday it would take a tough line on ensuring price stability for domestic coal prices over the northern hemisphere winter, according to a translation of the notice on its website seen by S&P Global Platts.

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The notice outlined three steps the NDRC was prepared to take to "prevent abnormal fluctuations in coal prices and to make sure the price of coal was stable over the peak-load winter [season]," and the economic policy agency stressed it was prepared to intervene directly in the market.

The NDRC's first measure is to closely monitor domestic coal prices and coal trading activity in major production centers and at China's coal ports, according to the translated notice.

Key market indicators such as coal price movements, stock levels, and inventory cycle times would be targeted, said the NDRC.

Secondly, the NDRC warned in its notice against illegal behaviour, "such as destructively bidding up coal prices," and monopoly-style market behavior in the coal market, speculative activity, and hoarding. The NDRC wanted to ensure that coal mines do not "abuse their dominant market position to push up coal prices to unreasonable levels," said the notice.

Companies that are found to have breached this code of conduct risk being blacklisted and their identities made public in the Chinese media.

Lastly, the NDRC said it planned to send teams of its inspectors to ensure compliance with its code of conduct in coal mining regions such as the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi and Inner Mongolia.

--Michelle Zhao, michelle.zhao@spglobal.com
--Edited by Jeremy Lovell, jeremy.lovell@spglobal.com