China's July Australian coal imports hit 3-yr peak on healthy margins

21st August 2023

By: Reuters


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SINGAPORE - China's imports of Australian coal rose in July even as total coal arrivals declined, with Australia's high-quality fuel remaining cheaper than domestic supplies while demand from utilities stayed strong amid stifling hot weather.

China brought in 6.31-million metric tons of Australian coal last month, up from 4.83-million tons in June and the highest in three years, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Sunday.

Australian shipments comprised 6.15-million tons of thermal coal used in power plants and 161 619 t of coking coal for steelmaking.

The step up of Australian coal imports came even as China's overall coal imports eased in July by 1.5% from June.

High-quality Australian thermal coal is needed for China's power plants to meet soaring electricity consumption in summer when households increase air conditioning demand.

Australia's thermal coal with energy content of 5 500 kilocalories traded as much as 70 yuan ($9.62) a ton lower than the same quality domestic coal in the southern port of Guangzhou in July, trading sources said.

Analysts and market participants expect Australian coal imports to remain high through the year - assuming no policy changes - supported by robust import profits and lower domestic output due to stricter mine safety inspections.

Arrivals of Russian coal in July edged down to 8.99-million tons from June's record 10.65-million tons, but were up 21% from the same month last year.

Imports from Mongolia, mostly coking coal, grew 13% from June to 5.94-million tons, even as lower steel production dented demand for steelmaking raw materials.

Customs data also showed 15.83-million tons of Indonesian coal were imported in July, down from 16.32-million tons in June.

Edited by Reuters


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