China's coal imports fall 19% on November

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China’s coal imports fell 19% in November compared to the previous month as import rules at ports tighten, subduing shipments near the end of the year.

China leads the world’s top coal importers, bringing in more than 20 million tonnes of coal each month. In November, China imported 20.78 million tonnes of the fuel, according to data showed by the General Administration of Customs. In November of the previous year, total coal imports were at 19.15 million tonnes. In October of the current year, imports were at 25.69 million tonnes.

Several ports in Shandong province and in Guangdong, Jiangsu have stopped giving clearance to vessels carrying coal shipments since late October.

Traders and utilities have cut back on purchasing coal due to Beijing’s signals of wanting to keep coal imports steady year-on-year.

From January to November of 2019, China had imported a total of 299.3 million tonnes of coal. In 2018, the total coal imports for the year was 281.2 million tonnes.

Indonesia, China’s second biggest supplier after Australia, had suffered falling profit margins at coal mines, discouraging Indonesian miners to sell to China last month.

Last week, China’s state planner released a statement that encouraged domestic power utilities and coal miners to sign long-term contracts to secure a consistency in market supply and to steady the prices.

On China’s winter coal trade fair, standard coal prices for long-term contracts of 2019 were set at 535 yuan ($76) per tonne. This was reported to be the same price as in 2018.

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