China’s total Feb coal imports slump 47% on month amid import curbs, holidays
China’s total coal imports in February slumped 47.3% month on month to 17.64 million mt from 33.5 million mt in January, according to preliminary figures released by China’s General Administration of Customs on Friday.
The coal import volume is also 15.6% lower year on year. In February 2018, the country imported 20.9 million mt of coal, including thermal and coking coal, the data showed.
The slump in coal imports came after a strong rebound of coal imports in January, when tight import restrictions imposed by China in December were lifted for the new year.
The restrictions were put in place late last year as China tried to rein in excess coal imports. China had aimed to maintain 2018’s import volume at the same level as 2017 at 271 million mt.
But according to customs data, China still exceeded its target and imported 281.23 million mt of coal last year, 3.9% more than 2017.
However, soon after the restrictions were lifted, some curbs were back in place late January on Australian coal, and market players reported of delays for discharging cargoes of Australian origin.
The lower February import volume also coincided with limited buying interest amid Lunar New Year holidays when industrial activities tapered.