H share Yanzhou Coal Mining expects mainland coal prices to rise only slightly during the rest of the year due to a moderate increase in supply. Supply would be curbed further due to a clampdown on smaller, sub-standard mines, but the company would increase its supply in the second half to achieve planned sales of 34 million tonnes of coal this year, director Wu Yuxiang said yesterday. The clampdown has squeezed coal supply and helped fuel a sharp rise in coal prices in the first half, which hit many power plants hard but benefited miners. As a result, Shandong-based Yanzhou Coal sold 22 per cent more coal in the domestic market, while its prices jumped an average 20.21 per cent to 170.1 yuan (about HK$159.4) per tonne. Higher coal prices lifted the company's interim net profit 55.8 per cent year on year to 696 million yuan. Yanzhou Coal would raise output in the second half, Mr Wu said. 'This may cause slight downward pressure on prices, but we are confident about the market outlook,' he said. In the first half, Yanzhou Coal produced 16.18 million tonnes of coal. This means planned production volume for the second half is 17.82 million tonnes. Almost 60 per cent of the full-year sales estimate is to be generated from the domestic market and the rest from exports. Mr Wu expected export coal prices to rise during the rest of the year as international miners would seek to raise prices by reducing output. 'A lot of miners, both in the mainland and overseas countries, are suffering losses after export coal prices kept sinking in the first half,' he said. He cited as an example an almost 15 per cent drop in the average spot coal price in Australia between January and July 25. However, Mr Wu was confident about the firm's full-year profitability as export contracts on hand accounted for 95 per cent of its full-year plan. Meanwhile, Mr Wu denied renewed rumours that Yanzhou Coal was on the verge of selling a stake to a foreign investor.