Sailing, Ports & Shipping
China's coking coal imports fell further in October as tightened import restrictions on Australian coking coal discouraged such shipments, even as prices remained relatively lower.
China imported 5.68mn t of coking coal last month, down by 29pc from September and by 6.6pc from a year earlier, Chinese customs data show.
Imports from Australia slipped further to 1.95mn t in October, a drop of 40pc from the previous month. This drop was largely because of a halt in customs declarations and discharge of coal imports at various ports in China, with some ports banning Australian coal imports all together. Other ports subjected Australian coal imports to more stringent checks, which further discouraged Chinese steel producers from importing Australian coal unless necessary.
Coal exports from Mongolia to China also fell by 20pc to 2.86mn t amid reports of similar but more minor import restrictions on Mongolian coal. Mongolia remained the main coal exporter to China in October.
China increased imports of Russian coal by 76pc to 541,634t in October. This was mainly because some varieties of Russian coal were a viable alternative to Australian coking coal and could be imported with relative ease.
But coal imports from both the US and Canada fell in October to 161,203t and 171,561t, respectively.
The Argus spot price assessment for premium low-volatile hard coking coal averaged $147.67/t fob Australia in October, up by 4.76pc from $140.96/t on the same basis in September.
By Rou Urn Lee