United Kingdom

Dominique Patton

China 2018 pork output surprises to downside, falls 0.9 percent

21 Jan 2019

BEIJING China's pork output fell 0.9 percent in 2018 from the previous year to 54.04 million tonnes, official data showed on Monday, surprising analysts who had expected an increase as farmers liquidated their herds amid an African swine fever epidemic.

UPDATE 1-China 2018 pork output surprises to downside, falls 0.9 pct

21 Jan 2019

* High slaughter volume amid deadly disease fails to boost output

On the autofarm: China turns to driverless tractors, combines to overhaul agriculture

16 Jan 2019

Xinghua, China A brand new combine harvester buzzes up and down a field in eastern China without a driver on board, chopping golden rice stalks and offering a glimpse of what authorities say is the automated future of the nation's mammoth agricultural sector.

China has culled more than 900,000 pigs due to African swine fever

15 Jan 2019

BEIJING China has culled 916,000 pigs after around 100 outbreaks of African swine fever in the country, the agriculture ministry said on Tuesday, as the disease continues to spread to new regions and larger farms.

U.S.-China trade talks extended amid some signs of progress

09 Jan 2019

BEIJING/WASHINGTON The United States and China will continue trade talks in Beijing for an unscheduled third day, U.S. officials said on Tuesday amid signs of progress on issues including purchases of U.S. farm and energy commodities and increased access to China's markets. | Video

China gives long-awaited GM crop approvals amid U.S. trade talks

08 Jan 2019

BEIJING China approved five genetically modified (GM) crops for import on Tuesday, the first in about 18 months in a move that could boost its overseas grains purchases and ease pressure from the United States to open its markets to more farm goods.

China turns up gas heat in 3 mln more homes

13 Dec 2018

* New users could add 4.5 bcm of gas demand * China also switching 1.5 mln households to electric heating * Residents facing expensive heating bills By Meng Meng and Dominique Patton BEIJING, Dec 13 China has switched another 3.29 million households to gas heating this winter, Reuters calculations show, more than it added last year, as Beijing continues to push the use of cleaner fuels to curb pollution. Gas heating has been installed in recent months across a new swathe of northern China - known for its heavy smog - underlining the government's commitment to reduce pollution even after last year's efforts triggered a fuel shortage that left people freezing in their homes. The new gas users will require an additional 4.53 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in the Nov. 15 to Mar. 15 period, but analysts said the increase would not necessarily boost overall consumption in the country. "If China wants to deliver gas as promised to households, it will sacrifice industrial supplies," said Chen Zhu, managing director of consultancy SIA Energy. Last year's surge in gas demand combined with inadequate storage and insufficient infrastructure to cause a supply crunch that pushed prices to record levels just weeks into the heating season, forcing Beijing to pause its clean-fuel campaign. This year, a warmer-than-usual November, slack industrial demand and higher supplies of liquefied natural gas (LNG) have pressured wholesale gas prices. China's energy majors also bought more supplies ahead of the heating season, with November gas imports via pipeline and ship hitting a record. Even so, China is unlikely to meet the additional demand from the new users, without cutting some supply to industry, Chen said. POLLUTION BATTLEFIELD Reuters calculated the number of new households that switched to gas boilers by subtracting the number of new electricity users reported by State Grid - China's dominant grid operator - from the total new households reported as using clean fuels by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment. An additional 1.5 million homes will use electricity for heating, the numbers show, after Beijing proposed electric power as an alternative to gas for cities in the Fenwei Plain. The Fenwei Plain includes parts of Shanxi and Shaanxi, two of China's biggest coal-producing provinces, as well as Henan. Cities in the Fenwei Plain were included by Beijing as a "key battlefield" in its war against air pollution in July, in addition to 28 other cities in northern China. China's top steel-making province, Hebei, and top coal-producing region Shanxi were most aggressive in switching to gas heating, while homes in Beijing and Shaanxi province added more electricity than gas. Chen Hao, a resident of Xi'an, capital of Shaanxi province, said he doubted whether local households earning an average of 3,000 yuan a month could afford the extra 500 yuan in winter heating bills after switching to gas. Some people will also still burn coal, after local governments relaxed an outright ban on coal for heating in places not connected to gas supplies. "This winter, village officials are under pressure to keep us warm," said an elderly farmer surnamed Liu living in Zhangjiapu village in Shanxi province. Last year, Liu survived the winter without heat. The table below shows the number of new gas or electric heating users this year, according to data published by the Ministry of Ecology and Environment and State Grid. New New power Total Gas Power Gas household users user user consumption gas users pct pct from new users this year (in bcm) Beijing 39,000 122,600 161,600 24% 76% 0.054 Hebei 1.45 mln 319,000 1.77 mln 81% 18% 2.000 Tianjin 154,100 35,900 190,000 81% 19% 0.212 Shandong 210,000 240,000 450,000 47% 53% 0.289 Henan 598,000 300,000 898,000 67% 33% 0.824 Shanxi 601,000 62,000 663,000 91% 9% 0.828 Shaanxi 237,000 470,000 707,000 34% 66% 0.327 Total 3.29 mln 1.54 mln 4.84 mln 68% 32% 4.534 (Reporting by Meng Meng and Dominique Patton; Editing by Tom Hogue)

China mulls stockpiling pork to support farmers hit by swine fever

29 Nov 2018

BEIJING China may soon buy pork for its state reserves to support farmers struggling to sell their pigs amid an African swine fever epidemic that has ravaged the nation's hog herd, according to people who attended a government meeting this week.

China December coal imports set to slump on new curbs: traders

27 Nov 2018

BEIJING China's coal imports are set to slump in December as traders and utilities wind back purchases following signals from Beijing that it will stop clearing shipments until next year, trading companies and utilities told Reuters.

UPDATE 1-China December coal imports set to slump on new curbs -traders

27 Nov 2018

* Newcastle coal falls below $100: https://tmsnrt.rs/2DMyPnZ (Adds Newcastle price fall below $100/t, graphic)

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