UKRAINE signed a deal to buy 1 million tons of coal from South Africa to maintain power output after mining was disrupted by armed conflict with separatist rebels in the country’s east. The first batch was being loaded, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said at a government meeting yesterday, without giving details. Half of Ukraine’s electricity is generated by natural gas and coal. It wants to reduce dependency on imported natural gas since Russia cut off deliveries on June 16. Coal output declined since the main coal mining areas in Donetsk and Luhansk were paralysed by armed conflict between government forces and separatists. Power distributors warned consumers of cuts to electricity in peak hours in winter. – Bloomberg