BEIJING : China’s state planner has banned an influential coal trading firm in the major coal mining region of Shaanxi province from publishing price assessments and market news, part of government efforts to regulate commodities markets and tame hot prices.

The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said Yulin Coal Trading Centre Corp was publishing untrue pricing information, and that the company was not authorised to collect, edit and publish news and information.

The NDRC has shut down Yulin’s pricing indexes and two Wechat accounts it managed, and asked the firm not to publish any untrue coal market information on any channel.

“The NDRC will continue strengthening information monitoring … reining in such activities, ensuring coal supplies and price stabilisation,” it said in a statement issued late on Tuesday.

The manager in charge of pricing indexes at Yulin Coal Trading Centre did not respond to calls requesting comment.

The move follows new guidelines from Beijing for managing price indexes for commodities and services, and that say regulators will suspend the activities of any price providers failing to comply with certain rules.

Yulin Coal Trading Centre Corp, founded in 2009, is mainly involved in physical coal trading, logistics and consulting business. Until the ban, it published daily spot coal prices for Yulin city and nearby regions.

Coal production in Yulin accounts for about 13per cent of China’s total coal output.

China’s coal prices are hovering near record highs, fuelled by concerns about tight supplies and strong demand.

Several coal index providers, including Inner Mongolia Coal Trading Centre, stopped updating their prices recently.

The most-traded thermal coal futures contract at China’s Zhengzhou Commodity Exchange fell 3per cent on Wednesday.

There are dozens of institutes pricing coal, including China Electricity Council and China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association. Local consultancies such as Fenwei Digital Information Technology and Yimei, a trading platform owned by Helue E-Commerce Corp, also publish coal prices.

(Reporting by Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; Editing by Tom Hogue)

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