Saturday, November 27

China’s Oct coal imports slow over boom in domestic output


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BEIJING — China’s coal imports fell 18% in October from a month earlier as power generators and industrial users turned to domestic supplies amid Beijing’s efforts to boost production.

The world’s biggest coal consumer brought in 26.94 million tonnes of the dirty fossil fuel last month, down from 32.88 million in September, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Sunday.

But October arrivals were still higher than the figure of 13.73 million tonnes a year ago, when Chinese authorities set an unofficial cap of about 300 million tonnes for total coal imports in 2020.

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In the first 10 months of this year, China imported 257.34 million tonnes of coal, up 1.9% year-on-year, customs data showed.

Since July, China has issued hundreds of approvals of coal mining capacity expansion, amid soaring prices and insufficient supply of the fuel that were partly behind widespread power outages.

China’s spot coal prices gained nearly 190% this year before measures by the powerful state economic planner to boost output production and limit prices.

Free-on-board prices for Indonesian thermal coal of the 3,800 kcal grade surpassed $160 a tonne in late October, from less than $70 in the beginning of the year.

China’s coal output has surged to record daily levels since late October and prices have plunged nearly 50% in the past three months, prompting power plants to turn back to domestic suppliers to replenish stocks, traders said.

By Friday, stocks at power plants nationwide had exceeded 116 million tonnes, up more than 35 million from the end of September, returning to the levels of recent years, the state planner has said.

Consumption of the fuel is expected to increase as the winter heating season begins in northern China.

(Reporting by Muyu Xu and Tony Munroe; Editing by Lincoln Feast and Clarence Fernandez)



financialpost.com

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