Mark Latham Commodity Equity Intelligence Service

Tuesday 16th June 2015
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    China May power consumption up 1.6 pct on yr

    China’s power consumption rose 1.6% from a year ago and up 3.4% on month to 456.7 TWh in May, showed data from the National Energy Administration (NEA) on June 16.

    Power consumption by the residential segment was 53.3 TWh, rising 8.9% year on year but down 7.3% from April.

    For the non-residential segment, the primary industries – mainly the agricultural sector – used 8.7 TWh of electricity in May, a drop of 4.8% from the previous year but up 13.0% on month.

    The secondary industries – mainly the industrial sector – consumed 342.4 TWh of electricity, dipping 0.7% on year but up 6.1% from April.

    The industrial sector specifically, consumed 336.9 TWh of electricity in May, down 0.6% from the year before but up 6.2% from April, with the heavy industry accounting for 82.7% or 278.5 TWh, down 1.2% year on year but up 7.2% on month.

    Power consumption by tertiary industries – mainly the services sector – reached 52.3 TWh in May, increasing 9.8% year on year but down 2.8% from the month before.

    Over January-May of the year, China consumed a total 2,188.9 TWh of electricity, up 1.1% from the same period last year, the NEA said.
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    US Industrial Production Weakest Since January 2010 on Oil and Gas,dollar

    US Industrial production has missed expectations for 4 of the last 5 months (not seen outside recession) and has not seen notable MoM gains for 6 months in a row (not seen outside recession). Against expectations of a 0.3% gain, IP dropped 0.2% in May (not what the meteorconomists were hoping for). Without the over-stocking of motor vehicles, the number would have been a total disaster as Autos rose 1.&% MoM (the only industry to gain) but the 7.9% plunge in drilling/servicing at oil/gas wells is "unequivocally bad.

    "At 1.37% YoY growth, this is the weakest industrial production since January 2010. Minor upward revisions stalled the MoM drop streak but US factory output has now fallen YoY 6 months in a row (not seen outside recession)for the biggest drop in over 4 years.
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    Vedanta says buyout of Cairn India minorities moves it closer to becoming major player

    Vedanta Ltd's $2.3 billion offer to buy out minority shareholders in Cairn India moves the Indian mining and energy group closer to its goal of being a major diversified natural resources player, its chief executive said on Monday.

    The deal, which will help parent Vedanta Resources Plc repay hefty debts, is the first major structural change under Tom Albanese, the former Rio Tinto boss appointed chief executive of Vedanta Ltd last year.

    Vedanta began simplifying its complex structure with an overhaul in 2012, but further moves to clean up the group and buy out minorities in its cash-generating units have long been awaited by the market.

    Shareholders in Cairn India, India's cash-rich top private sector oil producer, will get one share in Vedanta Ltd for every share held, the companies said in a joint statement on Sunday.

    The shareholders will also get one redeemable preference share in Vedanta Ltd with a face value of 10 rupees, making the deal worth roughly $2.3 billion. That implies a premium of 7.3 percent to the closing price of Cairn's shares on Friday and a ratio of 1.04 for 1, marginally better than expectations of a simple 1 for 1 swap.

    "I believe this will provide us with an opportunity for a positive re-rating of the company," Albanese said in a call with journalists. "It will simplify the business and make it easier to understand, which is what holds back many investors in the UK market from considering the PLC right now."

    The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2016.

    Eliminating minority interests in the structure should also give the group unencumbered access to Cairn India's cash and align cash flow generation with debt, Barclays analysts said in a note. Cairn India has a roughly $2.6 billion cash pile.
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    Oil and Gas

    China's energy output expected to grow in 2015: report

    China's energy output is expected to grow while energy consumption will dip in 2015, according to a report released on Monday.

    Domestic crude oil output is expected to grow by 0.4 percent to reach 217 million tonnes in 2015, while refined oil and natural gas output will reach 294 million tonnes and 134.4 billion cubic meters respectively, according to a report released by a research center and a publishing house with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

    Consumption of refined oil is expected to grow by 2.1 percent to reach 277 million tonnes this year, one percent lower than the production growth. P

    Meanwhile, refined oil net exports are estimated to reach 20.8 million tonnes, up 41.9 percent year on year, with export of diesel taking the lead, the report said.

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    China's May crude stocks post biggest monthly decline since Oct 2013 at 631,000 b/d

    China's volume of net crude oil imports and domestic crude production lagged its overall refinery throughput in May, implying a drawdown of 631,000 b/d of crude stocks during the month, Platts calculations based on recently released data showed.

    This is the highest monthly drawn down since October 2013, when there was an implied stock draw of 638,000 b/d, according to Platts data.

    The drawdown last month was also a reversal from April, when 1.03 million b/d of crude was likely added to storage.

    The level of stocks held by refiners in China is not disclosed.

    Platts calculates China's net crude stock draw or build by subtracting refinery throughput from the country's crude oil supply.

    The latter takes into account net imports and domestic production of crude.

    The stock draw was mainly due to crude imports sliding to a 19-month low of 5.5 million b/d in May. In comparison, crude imports in April hit a record high of 7.4 million b/d.

    Discounting crude exports of 31,000 b/d, net crude oil imports in May averaged 5.46 million b/d, down 11.4% year on year and 25.1% month on month.

    On the other hand, refinery throughput rose 7.4% year on year to an average of 10.39 million b/d. But on a month-on-month basis it was 1.5% lower than April.

    Crude oil production in May was 4.29 million b/d, up 2% year on year and 0.3% higher than April.

    From January to May, China saw an overall crude inventory build of 278,000 b/d, a 49.7% drop from the same period of last year, according to Platts calculations.
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    Essar Oil Surges to Highest Price in 4 Years on Rosneft Report

    Essar Oil Ltd., India’s second-biggest non-state oil refiner, jumped to the highest level in more than four years in Mumbai following reports OAO Rosneft may acquire a 50 percent stake.

    The shares climbed 4.7 percent to 146.25 rupees, the highest since November 2010. The stock surged 42 percent last week, the most since the period ended April 2009.

    The founders of Essar Oil are in discussions to sell up to 50 percent in the 400,000-barrels-per-day refinery in the western state of Gujarat, BTVI reported Monday, citing people it didn’t identify.

    Billionaire brothers Shashikant and Ravikant Ruia are set to sell 49 percent in Essar Oil to state-run Rosneft, which pumps about 40 percent of Russia’s oil, for about 105 billion rupees ($1.64 billion), Business Standard newspaper reported Monday, citing a banker it didn’t identify. The deal may be announced as early as Tuesday, the newspaper reported.

    “It is not our policy to comment on market speculations,” Essar Oil said in an e-mailed statement.

    In December, Essar Oil signed key terms with Rosneft for buying 10 million metric tons of crude oil annually for 10 years starting as early as this year.
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    Schlumberger’s Eurasia deal ‘needs more time

    ’An official decision for Schlumberger’s $1.7 billion deal to acquire a stake in Russian rig contractor Eurasia Drilling may come summer, according to reports.

    Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) is close to making its decision on the bid, but still needs to “further review the deal”, RIA news agency reported on Monday.

    It had been expected that the special government commission could make its decision on Schlumberger's offer for a 45.65% stake in Eurasia later this month, amid reports in May that it had “no objections to the deal” and an official decision was due “soon”.

    However the deal, originally expected to be approved by the end of March, has so far been delayed three times against a background of concerns that Eurasia’s activities could be affected if Western sanctions against Russia over the crisis in Ukraine are extended further.

    The latest extension for the completion of the deal is now 30 June, although the date could yet again be pushed forward.  

    Oilfield services giant Schlumberger agreed in January to buy a stake in Eurasia, with an option to buy the rest of the Russian company at a later date.
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    Argentina's Oil Output Up Yr/Yr In April For First Time In 2015

    Argentina's oil output rose in April thanks to increased production by state-controlled energy company YPF, the government said on Monday, marking the first year-on-year monthly increase in 2015.

    YPF, taken over by the government in 2012, is Argentina's biggest energy company. The state seized control of YPF after accusing its previous parent company, Spain's Repsol, of underinvesting in production.

    Argentina's overall crude output rose 3.6 percent in April versus April 2014 to 2.54 million cubic meters, according to data published on the website of Argentina's energy secretariat. The overall production increase was driven by a 9.1 percent jump in YPF output to 1.07 million cubic meters, the statement said.

    Argentina's natural gas output rose 8 percent in April to 3.52 billion cubic meters, pushed by an 18.4 percent increase in production by YPF to 1.07 billion cubic meters, it said.

    - See more at:
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    Fracking could return to the UK next year

    Cuadrilla today are one step closer to realising their plans to frack in the UK, after Lancashire council recommended they be granted planning permission to explore for shale gas at the Preston New Road site.

    The company received all the necessary environmental permits in January 2015, but since then the council have deferred their final decision.

    Today's recommendation is a step in the right direction for Cuadrilla, but there can be no guarantee on the outcome until the council announce their final decision next week. Although it is common for the final decision to reflect the recommendation, this would not be the first time Cuadrilla's activities have been refused to the contrary: in February the council recommended the company be granted approval for their planning application at the Grange Hill site, but ultimately permission was denied - despite no planned hydraulic fracturing operations.

    Today also saw a major setback for the Company, as officials recommended permission to frack at another site, Roseacre, be refused. The council were concerned about the impact operations would have on traffic and road safety in the area.

    If successful next week, Cuadrilla could be the first to resume fracking in the UK after the government imposed a ban in 2011 - despite the ban being lifted in 2012.
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    Oil prices rise as Texas braces for tropical storm

    Crude prices rose after a cautious start on Tuesday, boosted by warnings that a tropical storm was about to hit the coast of oil producing state Texas.

    The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a tropical storm warning on Tuesday morning at 0200 GMT for the Texas coast from Baffin Bay to High Island.

    "On the forecast track the centre ... is expected to make landfall in the warning area along the Texas coast Tuesday morning and move inland over south-central Texas Tuesday afternoon and Tuesday night," the NHC said, adding that strong winds, rain and some flooding were expected.

    Front month U.S. crude futures were up around half a dollar at $60 a barrel at 0216, although the contract remains in a trend channel of $57-$62 per barrel that has been in place since the beginning of May. Brent climbed 22 cents to $64.17 per barrel.

    More than 45 percent of U.S. refining capacity is located along the U.S. Gulf Coast, which is also home to about half of total U.S. natural gas processing capability.

    The stronger U.S. prices meant that Brent's premium over American crude CL-LCO1=R has fallen almost 60 percent to around $3.70 per barrel, a level last seen briefly in April and before that at the beginning of the year.
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    Canada's Alberta promises again to hike taxes, review royalties

    The New Democratic government in Canada's province of Alberta, the largest source of U.S. oil imports, said on Monday it would follow through on plans to hike taxes on corporations and high-income earners but gave no indication on when it would move to review oil and gas royalty rates.

    In a speech setting out its first legislative agenda after being elected last month, the government said it would introduce bills to raise the corporate tax rate to 12 percent from 10 percent, end the province's 10 percent flat tax for those earning more than C$125,000 (US$101,568) and ban corporate and union donations to political parties.

    The New Democrats will also introduce legislation to fund the government in advance of a fall budget planned by Alberta's new Premier Rachel Notley.

    However the speech gave no indication when Notley, whose election victory last month ended 44 years of Conservative rule, would follow through on her most contentious promise to review how much oil and gas companies pay to exploit provincially-owned reserves.

    This has unsettled the oil industry but there was nothing concrete as to when a panel might convene to review oil and gas royalties.

    "We need to review how the people of Alberta ... will be rewarded for the development of their own energy resources," the government said in the text of speech.
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    North Dakota Shale Play Has Flattened Out Substantially

    The North Dakota Industrial Commission is out with the April production Data for the Bakken and all North Dakota.

    Eight month of flat to down production from the Bakken.

    I have shortened the data to 16 months here to give a better picture of what is really happening. North Dakota reached an 8 month low. North Dakota, in April, was 17,631 barrels per day below their September 2014 production. The Bakken was only 11,024 below September 2014, so conventional wells seem to be dropping off pretty fast.

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    Contango Announces Initial Muddy Sandstone Oil Discovery

    Contango Oil & Gas Company announced today the discovery and successful completion of the Elliott #1H well (80% WI) in the Muddy Sandstone formation in Weston County, Wyoming (N. Cheyenne Prospect Area). The well tested at a maximum 24 hour rate of 907 Boepd (98% Oil, 39 degree API) from a 6,601 foot completed lateral section using 25 stages of fracture stimulation. Total measured depth was 13,116 feet (6,235 feet true vertical depth).

    The Elliott #1H is Contango’s initial well in the N. Cheyenne Prospect and is located between two legacy vertical Muddy Sandstone oil fields, being the Fiddler Creek Field to the north and the Clareton Field to the south. Both fields were discovered in the 1940’s and have a combined cumulative production in excess of 50 million barrels of oil.

    The Elliot #1H was initially drilled as a vertical pilot to a true vertical depth of 6,650 feet. Rock and petrophysical data were collected on multiple prospective zones in the well. In addition to the Muddy Sandstone, the slightly deeper Dakota and Lakota sands were evaluated and exhibit thicker intervals and greater oil saturations than the Muddy. Both of these zones are proven productive in vertical producing wells in the area. These two additional zones could add additional layers of horizontal oil development potential across the leasehold position. The Niobrara Shale was also encountered and shows prospective reservoir characteristics and will be further evaluated in future wells.

    Contango’s initial interest and entry into this play was based on its similarity to the Company’s horizontal Woodbine play in Madison County, Texas where the Company has been drilling since 2012. Both plays target the “halo area” around established conventional oil fields where the producibility of the reservoir declines and becomes uneconomic for a conventional vertical play, but where the unconventional horizontal wells have proven to provide significant uplift in both rate and reserves sufficient to provide superior returns on a repeatable basis.
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    Canamax in business combination with Powder Mountain Energy

    Canamax Energy Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has entered into an arrangement agreement with Powder Mountain Energy Ltd. to acquire all of the common shares of Powder for total expected consideration of approximately $27.35 million, payable through the issuance of Canamax common shares having a deemed value of $0.60 per share. The total consideration being paid is based on an attributed value of $5.85 million for Powder's existing lands, production and reserves and a working capital surplus (substantially all cash) of $21.5 million estimated on the closing date of the Powder Combination.

    Strategic Rationale

    Cash proceeds from the closing of the Powder Combination, together with anticipated closing of the recently announced $15.0 million commercially reasonable efforts private placement financing, should allow Canamax to execute on the following:

    Close the recently announced $24.0 million property acquisition from an intermediate oil and gas company (such acquisition scheduled to close on or before July 31, 2015 and add an estimated 750 boe/d of production) (the 'Asset Acquisition');
    Accelerate the Company's planned drilling program on its core Greater Grimshaw area where Canamax has a 100% working interest in the production, facilities and the majority of the 96 net sections of land in the area. Canamax has identified approximately 190 potential Montney oil drilling locations on these lands;
    Provide additional capital to pursue further potential strategic corporate and property acquisitions;
    Eliminate the use of the previously announced $20.0 million standby bridge facility; and

    After closing of the Asset Acquisition, the Powder Combination, and the Private Placement financing, Canamax is expecting to have an estimated production rate of approximately 1,900 boe/d (56% oil & NGL - including approximately 150 boe/d of currently shut-in Canamax production) and approximately $3.0 to $4.0 million of cash and working capital with no debt.
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    Alternative Energy

    Hanergy loses $585 mln intra-group order signed in May

    Hanergy Thin Film Power Group's biggest client has cancelled a recently signed $585 million order that makes up nearly half its annual sales, in another setback to the Chinese solar energy firm which is being probed by Hong Kong financial regulators.

    Hanergy said in a stock exchange filing on Monday that an equipment sales and technical services deal struck in May between its parent Hanergy Holding - its biggest customer accounting for two-thirds of sales - and wholly-owned subsidiary Fujian Apollo is off. It gave no reason for the move.

    The cancellation underscores Hanergy's vulnerability given its dependence on a limited client base - its five largest customers account for 98 percent of its sales. Since its revenues are predominantly driven by affiliated companies, earnings could be volatile.

    "Whether it is an external or internal client, it's not a good sign because of the size of the order," said an analyst at a research firm in Hong Kong, declining to be identified because his firm did not formally cover Hanergy.

    Fujian had agreed in May to sell and provide technical services to Hanergy Holding, which owns a 73.19 percent stake in Hanergy. Under that arrangement, Hanergy Holding agreed to buy six sets of silicon-based thin-film solar energy panel module assembly lines with a production capacity of 900 MW from Fujian for $175.5 million.

    A technical services deal between the two had also been agreed, under which $409.5 million would be paid to Fujian.

    Hanergy said on Monday that after "arm's length negotiations" the companies had cancelled the agreements and that there would be no material adverse impact on the group's business.
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    Adani Group in pact for 10,000 mw solar power park in JV with Rajasthan

    Adani Group has set a target of 10,000 mw of solar power generation capacity by 2022 and has signed a joint venture agreement with the government of Rajasthan to set up a 10,000 mw, the Gautam Adani-led company said Monday.

    The group's arm Adani Renewable Energy Park has signed a pact with the Rajasthan government for a 50:50 joint venture, namely Adani Renewable Energy Park Rajasthan, for the solar power project which will emerge as the largest such integrated facility in India, the release said.

    The proposed park will attract investments over Rs 60,000 crore and it will include generation projects and a manufacturing unit for solar module, parts and equipment. Adani itself plans to generate 5,000 mw in this solar park.

    "We have embarked upon a mission of becoming a world leader in renewable power generation technologies, with a special focus on solar. The development of Solar Park facility is our contribution towards realization of our Honorable Prime Minister's campaign and commitment towards clean and green energy in India," said Gautam Adani, chairman, Adani Group.

    The government of Rajasthan is keen to enhance the solar power generation capacity in the state and has committed to achieve 25,000 mw capacity by 2022. The solar park is a part of this plan.
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    Molycorp defers second interest payment in 2 weeks

    US rare earths producer Molycorp on Monday deferred making a second interest payment in two weeks.

    The Greenwood Village, Colorado-based miner said that it would take advantage of a 30-day grace period on a $3.36-million semi-annual interest payment related to its 3.25% senior unsecured convertible notes due 2016. 

    Molycorp said the decision would not trigger any cross-defaults on its other loans. The NYSE-listed company early this month deferred a $32.5 million interest payment on its 10% senior notes due 2020, choosing to also use the 30-day grace period. 

    The Wall Street Journal reported that analysts expected the company to file for bankruptcy protection before the end of the month. Facing a $1.7-billion debt load, Molycorp, which operated the Mountain Pass rare earths mine and processing facility, in California, the largest rare earths mine outside of China, had retained financial and legal advisers to assist it in restructuring its debt and was in discussions with its creditors.

    The company had in March warned that it might not have enough money to continue as a viable entity if its debt restructuring efforts failed. Investors were encouraged by he company's debt restructuring efforts, raising the NYSE-listed stock price 21% to $0.44 apiece on Monday afternoon
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    Base Metals

    Metminco gives Los Calatos mineral resource update

    Metminco said following the new detailed geological modelling of the Los Calatos Porphyry Complex, an updated Mineral Resource Estimate has been completed, which has identified a new higher grade copper development opportunity.


    - Total mineral resource of 352 million tonnes at 0.76% Cu and 318 ppm Mo at a 0.5% Cu cut-off, which comprises all resource categories.

    - Potential for a higher grade, lower tonnage, copper mine at Los Calatos targeting: 126 million tonnes at 1.03% Cu and 351 ppm Mo (using a 0.75% Cu cut-off) located entirely within the modelled breccia units; Mining and milling rate of 6 million tonnes p.a.; 50,000 tonnes of copper metal production p.a.

    - Mining study by Runge Pincock Minarco (RPM) to determine new mine associated economics scheduled for completion mid-July 2015
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    Japan's spot aluminium premium slips below $100/mt for first time in 6 years

    Japanese spot aluminium premiums slipped below $100/mt plus London Metal Exchange cash, CIF Japan, Monday for the first time in six years, five months after hitting an all-time high of $425/mt plus LME cash CIF Japan.

    Platts assessed spot premiums of primary aluminium imported into Japan at $90-$100/mt plus LME cash, CIF, main Japanese ports Monday, June 15, down from $90-$120/mt last Friday and the lowest since being assessed at a premium of $110-$120/mt on June 8, 2009.

    The premium hit an all-time high of $425/mt on January 20.
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    Steel, Iron Ore and Coal

    QHD stocks rebound on weak demand

    Coal stocks at Qinhuangdao port, the benchmark for China’s domestic market, climbed to 6.45 million tonnes on June 15, as shipping activities shrunk amid weak downstream demand.

    That was 0.16% higher than a week ago and increasing 5.88% from the recent lowest level of 6.09 million tonnes on May 31, showed data from Qinhuangdao Port Group.

    Meanwhile, coal stockpiles at Caofeidian stood at 3.63 million on June 15, down 7.6% from a week ago; while stocks at SDIC Jingtang port rose 13.0% from the previous week to 1.3 million tonnes.

    Data showed that daily inbound coal railings to Qinhuangdao port averaged 67,429 tonnes during the week ended June 15, down 4.5% on week; while the daily outbound shipment from the port was 67, 286 tonnes during the same period, edging up 0.2% on week.

    Demand from downstream utilities shrunk, as industrial activities remained sluggish and hydropower output increased with high rainfalls amid relatively low temperature.

    Coal stocks at power plants under the six coastal utilities stood at 12.84 million tonnes on June 15, up 5.33% from a week ago; daily use for the week averaged 0.58 million tonnes, up 3.5% from the previous week. That was enough to cover 22.3 days of consumption, up from 21.7 days a week ago.
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    Shaanxi caps 2015 energy consumption at 8.5 mln T

    Coal-rich Shaanxi province aims to control energy consumption within 8.5 million tonnes of coal equivalent this year, the provincial government said in a pollutants emission reduction plan on June 9.

    The province would prohibit sales of coal with above 16% ash or over 1% sulfur, mainly for residential purpose, in Xi’an, Baoji, Xianyang, Tongchuan and Weinan, the plan said.
    In these five areas, coal-fired boilers with a steam supply capacity below 20 T/h would be eliminated, while in other areas of Shaanxi those boilers below 10 T/h would be phased out.
    The province would complete the reconstruction on 18 coal-fired thermal power units of 7.63 GW to achieve ultra-low emission in main districts, including the Weihe Thermal Power Plant, Datang Baqiao Thermal Power Plant, etc.
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    China Shenhua May coal output up 5.2pct on mth

    China Shenhua Energy Co., Ltd, the listed subsidiary of state-owned coal giant Shenhua Group, produced 24.2 million tonnes of commercial coal in May, up 5.2% from April, the company said on June 16.

    Industry insiders attributed to the increase mainly to increased restocking demand from utilities ahead of the peak power consumption in summer, after the giant further cut prices in late April to cope with flatness in the domestic market.

    Shenhua further cut prices of some of its thermal coal products by 10-15 yuan/t, lowering FOB price for 5,200 kcal/kg NAR coal by 15 yuan/t to 390 yuan/t ($63.7/t) and for 4,800 kcal/kg NAR product by 10 yuan/t to 354 yuan/t, effective April 28.

    However, tight supply in low-CV coal prompted the group to adjust up FOB price for 4,300 Kcal/kg NAR product by 10 yuan/t to 315 yuan/t from May 10.

    Still, the May output was 4.0% below the year-ago year on year -- the ninth consecutive year-on-year decline, indicating a prolonged slackness in China’s oversupplied domestic coal sector.

    Over January-May, Shenhua produced a total 116.5 million tonnes of coal, down 9.9% year on year; while total sales during the same period dropped 24.7% on year to 140.6 million tonnes.

    China Shenhua’s coal sales fell 3.7% on year but rose 17.3% on month to 36.6 million tonnes in May, also the ninth successive year-on-year drop, reflecting improved coal sales after persisting price cuts since December last year.

    In May, China Shenhua sold 21.2 million tonnes of coal via northern Chinese ports, up 10.4% on year and up 7.6% on month. Of this, coal shipped from Shenhua’s exclusive-use Huanghua port stood at 11.9 million tonnes or 56.1% of the total, up 4.4% on year and up 36.8% on month.

    Over January-May, the company sold 74.7 million tonnes of coal via northern Chinese ports, down 21% year on year. Of this, coal shipped from Huanghua port stood at 37.6 million tonnes or 50.3% of the total, down 29.1% year on year.

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