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China to Buy More Coal from Vietnam

Chinese companies are intensifying import of Vietnamese coal amidst Vietnam's plan to raise prices of coal products in 2006, according to the Trade Information Center under the Vietnamese Trade Ministry on Monday.

The Chinese firms are estimated to import some 1.5 million tons of coal via border gates this quarter, mainly to fuel power plantsin some of China's southern localities.

Five large, 11 medium and many small-sized enterprises frequently import coal from Vietnam, the center said, adding that other Chinese firms are also intensifying purchase of Vietnamese iron, copper and titanium ores.

Vietnam plans to sell some 14 million tons of coal overseas this year, up 32 percent against last year, of which 9 million tons are expected to go to China, said the country's biggest coalproducer, Vietnam Coal Corporation (Vinacoal).

Vietnam is likely to increase prices of coal products by 31-57 percent in the domestic market in 2006, mainly due to the rising production cost.

"We're waiting for the government's approval to our price hike proposal. It'll be applied to coal products sold to power, cement, paper and fertilizer industries," the state-owned corporation told Xinhua recently, noting that its production cost is estimated to rise 15.6 percent this year over last year.

The Vinacoal, which currently sells its products for average 427,500 Vietnamese dong (US$27) per ton, plans to produce 30 million tons of coal next year.

Vietnam is expected to exploit nearly 47.6 million tons of coalin 2010, and over 64.4 million tons of the mineral in 2020.

The country, which exported more than 10.6 million tons of coalvalued at 319 million dollars to over 20 countries and regions last year, shipped abroad over 11.3 million tons of coal valued at437 million dollars in the first nine months of this year, postingyear-on-year respective surges of 35.6 percent and 78.9 percent.

(Xinhua News Agency October 17, 2005)

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