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China trims appetite for coal imports, but prices hold up: Russell

Coal News - Published on Wed, 06 Dec 2017

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Reuters reported that there are indications that China’s appetite for imported coal may be starting to ease in line with Beijing’s efforts to limit the use of the fuel over winter in a bid to lower air pollution. China’s seaborne imports were 18.26 million tonnes in November, down from 20 million in October, according to vessel-tracking and port data compiled by Thomson Reuters Supply Chain and Commodity Forecasts.

It’s the fourth consecutive monthly decline for seaborne coal imports, according to the data, and it comes as the authorities impose productions cuts on coal-consuming industries such as steel.

The vessel-tracking data doesn’t align exactly with official customs data given it excludes coal that is imported by rail or road, and also because of minor differences as to when cargoes are assessed as having been discharged.

However, it has proven a reliable indicator of China’s seaborne imports and the November data shows the decline to be fairly broadly-based.

Shipments from top supplier Indonesia declined to 9.13 million tonnes in November from October’s 10.11 million and 9.63 million in September.

Indonesia supplies mainly low-rank coal to China, which customs classifies as lignite, and this is mainly used as power-station fuel, often being blended with high-grade coal to boost the energy value.

China imported 6.47 million tonnes of coal from Australia in November, down from 6.87 million in October and 7.32 million in September, the shipping data showed.

About 38 % of Australian supplies shipped to China are coking coal used to make steel, the rest being higher-grade thermal coal.

The vessel-tracking data suggests that China is importing less of both thermal and coking coal, given the drop in volumes from both Indonesia and Australia.

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Posted By : Nanda Koijam on Wed, 06 Dec 2017
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