Coal producers post higher profits as China cuts capacity

China’s coal producers posted higher profits in the first half of this year as the country made progress in reducing capacity in the bloated industry.

Large coal companies earned 147.5 billion yuan (about 22.1 billion U.S. dollars) in total profits in the first half, 140.3 billion yuan more than the same period of last year, according to the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s top economic planner.

The turnaround came after China forced about 111 million tonnes of coal production capacity out of the market in the first six months, 74 percent of the annual target.

Last year, China eliminated 290 million tonnes of overcapacity in the coal industry.

With more than 400 million tonnes of coal capacity shed since last year, China has accomplished half of its goal of reducing 800 million tonnes of coal capacity in the 2016-2020 period, the NDRC said.

The effort to trim overcapacity is part of China’s bid to overhaul the economy as its growth slowed.

The coal industry has become more orderly, with rare illegal capacity expansions and a better industrial structure, according to the NDRC.

It said more measures will be taken to dispose of debt-ridden zombie companies, resettle laid-off workers and encourage mergers and restructuring.

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