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China’s coal imports from Russia, Mongolia jump in August

China’s coal imports from all origins rose in August, customs data showed on Wednesday, as the world’s top consumer of the fuel bought up cheaper overseas supplies after domestic output fell.

Russian coal arrivals reached 9.97 million metric tons, up from July’s 8.99 million tons, and 16.7% higher than the same month last year.

Imports from Australia also rose 6% from the prior month to 6.69 million tons, while arrivals from Mongolia, largely of coking coal, surged 20.5% from July to a record 7.16 million tons.

China’s total coal imports came to 44.3 million tons last month, data showed earlier, a record volume for a single month, thanks to lower domestic supply that pushed up local prices.

China’s coal output has declined in recent months as authorities tightened safety and shut mines for inspections amid a string of deadly accidents.

Domestic coal prices increased through August, with SteelHome assessing the benchmark price for thermal coal with energy content of 5,500 kilocalories (kcal) at the port of Qinhuangdao at 835 yuan ($114.45) per metric ton on Aug. 28, up from 779 yuan per ton in June.

The price for 5,500 kcal coal cargoes at Australia’s Newcastle Port API5IDXWKY=ARG, as assessed by commodity price reporting agency Argus, was $85.19 a metric ton in the week to Aug. 18.

China also imported 18.7 million tons of coal from Indonesia, up 18.4% from the prior month.
Source: Reuters (Reporting by Ningwei Qin and Dominique Patton, Editing by Mark Potter)

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