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China’s government has asked the nation’s top coal miners to cap their 2017 supply contracts at or below current spot market levels, sources said, a highly unusual move that reflects Beijing’s growing panic about runaway prices. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) at an emergency meeting on Thursday asked miners to agree to set the prices for their 2017 long-term supply contracts at or below 12 cents per kilocalorie (kcal) for 5,000 kcal thermal coal and for 5,500 kcal thermal coal, two sources who were briefed on the meeting told Reuters.
Those prices are equivalent to 600 yuan ($88.63) per tonne and 660 yuan per tonne respectively, according to Reuters calculations. This was the third meeting that the NDRC, China’s top economic planner, has held with the coal industry in a week and the participants included state-owned Shenhua Group Corp, the nation’s largest miner, the sources said. The sources asked to remain anonymous as they are not authorised to speak to the press.
The NDRC did not respond to requests for comment. No agreement was reached in the meeting, but the sources expect negotiations overseen by the government to continue over the next few months.
Coal prices have skyrocketed over the past two months to record highs as government-enforced mines closures choked supplies to power companies and forced many to import feedstock.