September 14, 2017 / 2:38 AM / 10 days ago

UPDATE 1-China August coal production drops to lowest in 10 months

* Aug coal output 291 mln tonnes; up 4.1 pct on year

* Jan-Aug output 2.3 bln tonnes; up 5.4 pct on year (Adds details from statistics bureau data)

BEIJING, Sept 14 (Reuters) - China’s monthly coal production fell in August from a month earlier, hitting its lowest since October 2016 as producers reduced output in the wake of major accidents in cuts that helped push domestic coal prices to a new high.

China produced 291 million tonnes of coal in August, data released by the national statistics bureau showed on Thursday. That was the lowest level in 10 months, though up 4.1 percent from August 2016.

Output over the first eight months of the year reached 2.3 billion tonnes, up 5.4 percent compared with the same period of last year.

Beijing increased safety checks in August after a coal mine landslide killed eight in major producing region Shanxi. China said it would launch nationwide safety inspections of coal mines from this month.

The crackdown also came as power companies flagged concerns about coal supplies ahead of the upcoming winter peak demand season.

Meanwhile production of coke used in steelmaking fell 5.3 percent in August to 36.91 million tonnes, the lowest since April 2016. Year-to-date output was 295.69 million tonnes, up 1.3 percent compared with the same period last year. (Reporting by Meng Meng and Beijing Monitoring Desk; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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