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China power output to hit 2-yr low, slow coal production-NDRC report

* Report says 2012 electricity output set to cool from
double-digit rates
    * Coal output growth also seen slowing to 3.7 pct, down from
8.7 pct growth in 2011
    * Crude oil production seen unchanged at 204 mln tonnes
    * Total grains output seen at 500 million tonnes in 2012,
down 12.4 percent

    BEIJING, March 5 (Reuters) - China's power production
is expected to rise 7.5 percent in 2012, its slowest growth
since 2009, and slackening demand from thousands of power
stations across the country will also curb gains in coal output,
a government work report showed on Monday. 
    The report, issued by the National Development and Reform
Commission (NDRC) ahead of the annual parliament meetings, said
total electricity output was expected to hit 5.05 trillion
kilowatt hours in 2012, slowing markedly from the 10 percent
growth rate last year and a near 15 percent spurt in 2010. 
    Raw coal output from China, the world's top producer and
consumer of the fuel, is expected to rise 3.7 percent from a
year ago to 3.65 billion tonnes, cooling from the 8.7 percent
gain recorded in 2011.  
    The moderation in power output growth, the lowest since the
6.75 percent recorded in 2009, comes as Beijing pulls out all
stop to cool its economy, with Premier Wen Jiabao saying on
Monday that China aims to grow its economy by about 7.5 percent
in 2012.  
    The slowdown in electricity consumption may not necessarily
cause coal imports to skid, as a move by the country's
coal barons to rein in supplies would help ensure that domestic
prices were supported. 
    "We could see volumes staying at pretty decent levels of
around 10-12 million tonnes a month, but international prices
would come under pressure as suppliers try to match Chinese
prices," said a Singapore-based trader. 
    Crude oil production is forecast unchanged at 204 million
tonnes in 2012.  
    "The target shows that China's domestic oil production has
reached a plateau with 70-80 percent of the fields seeing
declining reserves, while there have been no major new finds to
give it a big boost," said Huang Xinhua, Singapore-based analyst
with IHS Energy. 
    China also reiterated earlier pledges to introduce energy
pricing reforms this year, adding that it was looking to
implement tiered electricity tariffs for residential users,
while pricing revisions for refined oil products and natural gas
were also in the works. 
    Last week, the NDRC's deputy chief of price department, Zhou
Wangjun, told Xinhua that Beijing will bring in energy pricing
reforms this year to let market forces will play a greater role,
but will time them to limit their impact on consumer prices. 
    With power tariffs and fuel prices capped at a fixed rate by
Beijing, many thermal power plants and refiners have raked up
massive losses in recent years, as the surge in resource prices
have far outpaced the meagre state-controlled price hikes. 
    The NDRC currently sets fuel prices using a secret formula
based on a basket of crude oil prices, including the price of
Brent, Dubai and Cinta, and reviews domestic fuel prices should
the 22-day moving average price of the basket rise or fall more
than 4 percent. 
    Since the much-anticipated review of the fuel pricing scheme
did not occur last year as expected, industry experts said the
reform, which include shortening the adjustment period or the
composition of the basket of crude, could be unveiled this year. 
    In a wide-ranging report, the NDRC also said it plans to
roll out a pilot carbon trading scheme this year as part of the
country's broader efforts to encourage reductions in greenhouse  
gas emissions. 
    In preparation for a trial carbon markets, China has already
ordered seven provinces and cities to set caps on greenhouse gas
emissions and submit proposals as to how the targets will be
    On agriculture, China said its total grains output was
expected to stand at 500 million tonnes in 2012, down 12.4
percent from a year ago. It did not give individual breakdown
for corn, rice and wheat.  
    To ensure its food security, the government would also ramp
up investments in rural areas to 1.23 trillion yuan ($195.29
billion) in 2012, up from 186.8 billion yuan in 2011, adding
that it would also ship more grains which are in short supply. 
    Cotton production was seen reaching 6 million tonnes, down
from around 10 percent from year ago. 
    Following a summary of the production targets issued in the
2012 work report  
                 (All output figures are in million tonnes) 
                 2012 OUTPUT    2011 OUTPUT*    CHANGE YOY     
 Crude Oil           204.00          203.60        0.2 pct 
 Raw coal          3,670.00        3,539.00        3.7 pct 
 Total grains incld corn, wheat, rice 
                   500.00            571.21      -12.5 pct  
 Cotton              6.00              6.60       -9.1 pct  
 Meat, incld pork, beef, mutton and poultry  
                    81.00             78.03        3.8 pct  
 *data provided by the National Bureau of Statistics. 
 ($1 = 6.2982 Chinese yuan)

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