* 2011 coal export quota at 38 mln tonnes
* First batch at 18 mln tonnes (Adds background)
BEIJING, March 17 (Reuters) - China has set a total of 38 million tonnes of coal export quotas for 2011, the National Development and Reform Commission said on Thursday, in line with a trend in recent years that has showed the world's top user wants to reserve more of the fuel at home.
The commission has already issued the first batch of the quota, at 18 million tonnes, to coal exporting firms, it said in a notice on its website (www.ndrc.gov.cn), confirming an earlier Reuters report. [ID:nTOE70303K]
Of the first batch, China's top two coal exporters, Shenhua Group and China National Coal Group, each received export quotas of 7.45 million tonnes, with Shanxi Coal Import and Export Group receiving a quota for 1.85 million tonnes and Minmetals Group licensed to ship 1.25 million tonnes, trading sources have told Reuters.
The first batch was 30 percent less than the 25.5 million tonnes of first batch export quota in 2010, 43 percent less than the first batch in 2008 and 72 percent less than in 2006.
China has emerged as the world's second-largest coal importer and bought nearly 165 million tonnes of coal in 2010 on the back of booming demand and rising domestic production and transport costs.
China's raw coal output increased 13.5 percent from a year earlier to 515.8 million tonnes in the first two months of the year, government data showed. (Reporting by Jim Bai and Tom Miles; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)