China’s coal imports unlikely to rise much in 2019 amid restrictions

Tuesday, 08 January 2019 16:06:54 (GMT+3)   |   Istanbul

According to data released by Italy-based Banchero Costa, in the first 11 months of 2018 China’s total coal and lignite imports increased by 8.9 percent to 270.5 million mt. Of this, imports of steam coal and lignite increased by 13.5 percent year on year to 209.4 million mt, while coking coal imports declined by 4.2 percent to 61.1 million mt.

According to Banchero Costa, it is uncertain if the total import volume in 2018 will exceed the 2017 volume of 271.1 million mt, due to coal import restrictions introduced in November and signals by the Chinese government to keep the year’s imports below 2017 levels.

While import restrictions eased with the start of 2019, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is reportedly considering monthly controls of import volumes this year, instead of imposing annual quotas, Banchero Costa stated in its report. As a result, China’s coal import volumes in 2019 are not expected to rise much. On the other hand, the Chinese government aims to increase domestic production this year, while limiting falls in price. In 2019, domestic coal production in China is expected to increase by approximately 100 million mt.

According to Banchero Costa, in the first 11 months of 2018 China imported coal mostly from Indonesia and Australia, accounting for 45 percent and 29 percent of coal imports respectively.

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