China's coking coal imports rose in July as Chinese steel producers increased their restocking with import quotas at various ports fast running out.
China imported 7.75mn t of coking coal last month, up by 18.3pc from June and an increase of 1.7pc from a year earlier, Chinese customs data show.
Imports from Australia were at 3.96mn t, up by 40.2pc from June as lower prices for Australian coal amid oversupply in the import market attracted Chinese steel and coke producers to restock more.
Shipments from Mongolia were still fairly firm at 2.57mn t but had fallen slightly by 4.4pc from the previous month. China took 731,304t of coking coal from Russia in July, up by 26.8pc as Russian coal found was more competitively priced in comparison to certain lower grade Australian coking coal.
The US shipped 197,614t of coking coal to China in July, despite not exporting anything for the past two months as additional tariffs on coal made US coal exceptionally expensive for Chinese buyers. But this was likely because of the sale of some distressed US coal cargoes to Chinese buyers at relatively lower prices. Falling coking coal prices since the start of July had effectively priced out most American coal sellers, making it uneconomical for them to even try exporting to China at all.
China took 179,490t of coking coal from Canada in July, down by 60.8pc from the previous month. Indonesia also exported 108,850t of coking coal to China last month, although China did not import any Indonesian coal in June.
The Argus spot price assessment for premium low-volatile hard coking coal averaged $181.71/t fob Australia in July, down by 7.4pc from $196.38/t on the same basis in June.