Profits for Chinese coal producers soar

The largest coal miner saw profits more than double from last year, though coal is fading from the Chinese economy.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  Aug. 7, 2017 at 5:54 AM
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Aug. 7 (UPI) -- Profits for Chinese coal producers have been impressive so far this year, even though the government is sidelining capacity, state media reported.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that, of the 37 coal producers listed in the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, more than half estimated that profits during the first half of 2017 at least doubled from last year.

The nation's largest coal miner, China Shenhua Energy Co., reported profits for the first half of the year at $3.6 billion, a 147 percent improvement over last year. Xinhua attributed the gains to higher coal prices, but noted the nation's economy is moving away from the resource.

"About 111 million tons of capacity was forced out of the market in the first half of this year, 74 percent of the annual target, according to the National Development and Reform Commission," the report read. "As part of the effort to overhaul the economy, the Chinese government plans to eliminate 150 million tons of coal capacity this year."

China, which has the second-largest economy after the United States, could gain the advantage in the drive to develop a low-carbon economy because U.S. President Donald Trump has put more emphasis on the oil and natural gas sector. Last week, the U.S. government notified the United Nations of its intent to leave the international Paris climate agreement "as soon as it is eligible to do so."

"[Trump] is open to re-engaging in the Paris Agreement if the United States can identify terms that are more favorable to it, its businesses, its workers, its people, and its taxpayers," a U.S. State Department announcement read.

The Communist Party of China said last year it was "committed to the concept of environment-friendly development." Analysis of Chinese solar energy development from sector consultant group Wood Mackenzie found that, when counting all planned and announced projects, solar power capacity will more than double by 2020. For wind power, Wood Mackenzie estimates capacity will increase by 40 percent by the end of the decade.

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