Chinese miners try to sell live to displace coal glut

By Andrew Hayley

BEIJING (Reuters) – On China’s frenzied and hugely popular retail streams, glamorous hosts sell goods ranging from shoes and lipsticks to baby products and, increasingly, trucks full of sulfur coal .

As coal stocks at Chinese ports and power plants hit record highs in recent weeks, a sluggish economy saps demand from utilities and steel mills, reducing the need for cheap imported fuel cells , some miners are becoming more creative in their approach to customers.

In a recent Huaze Coal Industry feed, a young woman wearing a blue helmet and mining suit, holding a lump of coal and superimposed against a background of a coal warehouse, advertised powdered coal with an energy content of 5,500 kcal directly from the mine in Shanxi Province at 570-600 yuan ($79.55 – $83.73) per metric ton.

The minimum size of shipments between 30 and 35 tons, to be transported by rail, indicates that the target market is that of wholesale industrial buyers.

By comparison, 5,500 kcal domestic thermal coal was trading at around 800 yuan ($111.64) a ton last week, trade sources said.

While the wholesale of hard commodities isn’t entirely new to Chinese streaming platforms, it appears to be on the rise.

Three of the most active coal chains on Douyin identified by Reuters – Huaze Coal, Guohai Daily Coal Price and Jixing Coal – together held 164 such online events so far this quarter, compared to 120 events last quarter and 107 events in the fourth quarter of 2022.

Shows can last over two hours.

None of the sellers immediately responded to Reuters requests for comment.

And while it’s unclear how much revenue these events bring in, they do elicit a lot of comments from viewers, many of which appear to be ironic.

“How much for a whole truck?” joked one viewer. ($1 = 7.17 yuan)

(Reporting by Andrew Hayley and the Beijing Newsroom: Editing by Tony Munroe, Alexandra Hudson)

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