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Data Bite: January Decline in China’s Coal Imports Adds to 30 Percent Slide in 2015

February 16, 2016
Tim Buckley

After the 30 percent year-over-year decline in China’s total coal imports in 2015, additional decline has been recorded: a month-total 9 percent year-over-year decline to 15.2 million metric tons was this past January, according to data published by Platts.

While China’s coal exports rose 162 percent year over year, the increase was minuscule, bringing the total to 0.6 million metric tons for the month.

IEEFA forecasts net imports into China falling 20 percent year over year for 2016 overall, which would mark the third consecutive annual decline in what was once the world’s largest coal import nation globally, in 2013.

As the global seaborne coal sector continues to shrink, IEEFA sees China becoming an opportunistic net exporter, further eroding the scope of any global pricing stability.

Here’s a Platts excerpt:

“China’s coal imports, including lignite, thermal and metallurgical coal, totaled 15.23Mmt in January, down 9.2% year on year and 13.7% on the month, according to preliminary data released Monday by the General Administration of Customs.

“’We suspect the weakness could be attributed to thermal coal, where a pick-up in domestic output may have weakened demand for imported coal,’ ANZ analysts said in a note.”

“In December, China imported about 17.6Mmt of coal.”

“In January, China exported 606,000 mt of coal, jumping nearly 162% year on year and up 38% on the month, the data showed.”

Here’s the original post.

Tim Buckley is IEEFA’s director of energy finance studies, Australasia.

Tim Buckley

Former Director Energy Finance Studies, Australasia, Tim Buckley has 25 years of financial markets experience, specializing in equity valuation, including as a top-rated analyst and as co-founder and managing director of Arkx Investment Management.

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