China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), after summoning people from the country’s 10 top electricity utilities including Huaneng Group, Datang Group, Huadian Group, and State Power Investment Corporation to a meeting on December 12, stipulated that coal purchase prices for power companies should not exceed 640 yuan ($97.7) per ton.  The NDRC also asked the companies to report to them if prices rise above the cap, saying it will “investigate the origins of high-priced coal”. Despite the new cap, China’s thermal coal spot prices jumped to 659 yuan a ton on December 14, well above a previously government set “red zone” of 600 yuan and extending a 14-day rise on tight supply and peaking demand amid the winter heating season. Power companies were also told to adjust their inventories of key power plants, which is presently about 86 million tons, to reduce the purchase of high-priced coal in the market.

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