Inspectors patrol along the railway for transportation of coal in North China’s Shanxi province. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING – The supply of coal will be sufficient to meet a spike in demand during the winter heating season, China’s top economic planner said on Wednesday.

The supply-and-demand in the coal market is generally balanced with sufficient supply for this winter and spring next year, said Meng Wei, a spokesperson with the National Development and Reform Commission, at a News conference.

The demand for coal rose remarkably this winter due to lower temperatures and robust demand in the electricity, steel and construction materials sectors.

Coal prices went up in the spot market, while power plants mainly use coal purchased under medium and long-term contracts, so the pricing of coal they are using is stable, she said.

More than 80 percent of the coal supply is under medium and long-term contracts with prices between 540 yuan ($82.57) and 550 yuan per ton. She added that the rising pricing of the remaining small amount of coal in the market would not affect people’s livelihood.

She also pledged more efforts to increase supply and adjust demand to lower coal prices.