* First batch of coke export quotas up 6 pct on year
* First rare earth metals quotas higher than year earlier (Adds rare earths quotas, background)
SHANGHAI, Dec 31 (Reuters) - China has issued the first batch of coke export quotas for 2010 at 6.1 million tonnes, up 6 percent from the first batch of 2009, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday. (www.mofcom.gov.cn)
The ministry also said it had handed out the first batch of export quotas for strategically important rare earth metals at 16,304 tonnes, up from 15,043 tonnes in the first batch of 2009.
China, the world’s dominant rare earth producer, has been limiting exports of such metals, critical in the development of “green” technologies such as hybrid cars and wind turbines.
China issued a total of 11.91 million tonnes of quotas for 2009, but exports have plummeted because of weak demand in overseas markets.
In the first 11 months of the year, China’s coke exports totalled 476,598 tonnes, down 96 percent from a year earlier, according to the official customs data. [ID:nTOE5BL02C] (Reporting by Rujun Shen and Edmund Klamann; Editing by Chris Lewis)