By November 8, 2017 Read More →

Chinese coal imports fall in Oct. on air anti-pollution campaign

China coal imports

Chinese coal imports are down, but stockpiles of coal in northern China remain high. Reuters photo.

Chinese coal imports down to 21.28 million tonnes from 27.08 million tonnes in Sept.

Chinese coal imports fell in October as Beijing continues its campaign to reduce air pollution by replacing coal with cleaner burning fuels in the northern part of the country.

According to data from the General Administration of Customs, coal imports hit 21.28 million tonnes in October, down from September’s 27.08 million tonnes.

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While the amount of coal imports dipped in October, so far in 2017, China has purchased 226.13 million tonnes, up 12 per cent from 2016, according to Reuters.

“Coal consumption was curbed by output cuts…driving coal prices down and making imported coal less competitive compared to the domestic fuel,” said Xu Bo, analyst at Haitong Futures.

China is reducing its coal consumption and promoting cleaner energy in an effort to cut down on air pollution.  Beijing is hoping to eliminate 44,000 coal-fired industrial boilers and replace residential coal-fired heating systems in millions of homes with natural gas or electricity.

According to Reuters, Beijing and its neighbouring regions plans to cap coal consumption at 300 million tonnes by 2020.  In the northern part of China, steel mills and aluminum smelters have been ordered to cut their output by as much as 50 per cent during the winter.

Two cities in Hebei province began enforcing these production cuts in October.

“Although the heating season will kick off soon, it remain uncertain if coal imports will see big growth, as domestic coal miners are resuming capacity and enforcement…of coal-to-gas (switching ) is hard to predict,” Haitong Futures analyst Xu told Reuters.

One mine has been allowed to lower its target for cutting coal mine capacity to ensure enough supplies for the winter and stockpiles in northern China are high.

As Chinese coal imports and use decline, coal prices are falling as well.  In early October, coal dropped to 605 yuan ($91.36) a tonne, after hitting a record high of 667.4 per tonne on Sept. 19.



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