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Vietnam’s Feb Coal Imports Soar More Than Three Times To 1.16 Mil Mt

Vietnam raised its coal imports to 1.16 million mt in February, more than three times from 340,073 mt a year earlier as several coal-fired power plants were put into operation in 2015, according to data from Vietnam Customs.

The Southeast Asian nation, traditionally a coal exporter, has turned to imports to meet rising domestic demand, particularly from the power sector.

State-owned Vietnam Electricity, or EVN, added more than 3,400 MW of capacity from new coal-fired power plants in 2015. These power plants consume nearly 10 million mt/year of coal, EVN data showed.

Australia became the largest supplier of coal to Vietnam in February with 563,348 mt, surging 538.8% year on year.

It was followed by Russia with 359,771 mt, which was 12 times higher from 29,851 mt a year ago.

Imports from Indonesia, however, fell to 107,770 mt, down 40.4% year on year.

China, the top recipient of Vietnamese coal before 2015, shipped 110,088 mt of coal to Vietnam in February, up 423.9% year on year.

In the first two months of this year, Vietnam imported 2.4 million mt of coal, up almost a whopping 300% year on year, mainly from Australia at 904,211 mt, up 357.9% year on year; Russia at 658,920 mt, 22 times higher than 29,851 mt in the same period in 2015; and China with 436,510 mt, more than eight times the 51,697 mt imported over January-February last year.

Meanwhile, Vietnam exported just 3,383 mt of coal in February, down 98.1% year on year. The entire volume went to Japan. It exported 34,203 mt of coal over January-February, down 89.1% year on year.

Vietnam National Coal-Mineral Industries Holding Corp. Limited, or Vinacomin, said on March 4 that it produced 6.1 million mt of coal in the first two months of 2016, down 4.7% year on year.

Most of the country’s domestic coal production is allocated for use in the power, cement and other industries.

Vinacomin said earlier this year that it plans to produce 39.87 million mt of coal in 2016, up 6.9% from 37.3 million mt in 2015.
Source: Platts

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