Japanese coking coal imports rose in October as the country increased shipments from Australia and Canada despite an increase in spot prices.
Japan imported 5.78mn t of coking coal in October, up by 11pc from 5.21mn t in September and an increase of 6pc from October 2018, according to finance ministry data.
October imports from top supplier Australia rose by 18.5pc from the previous month to 2.19mn t, while shipments from Canada in October were up by 36pc from the previous month to 833,191t.
Japan's October imports from the US fell by 8pc from the previous month to 720,538t, while imports from Russia dropped by 8.1pc over the same period. Other coking coal import volumes last month were 94,775t from New Zealand, 32,000t from China and 28,997t from Mozambique.
Japanese imports from Indonesia were 1.08mn t, but much of this is mislabelled low-ash thermal coal used by steel producers at their captive power plants.
The Argus spot price assessment for premium low-volatile hard coking coal averaged $147.67/t fob Australia in October, up by 4.8pc from $140.96/t on the same basis in September.
Japanese metallurgical coke imports in October fell by 26pc from a month earlier to 27,577t, which was also well below volumes from October 2018 at 205,056t as Japanese steel mills cut production rates amid weaker steel prices. Nearly all of the met coke imported by Japan last month came from China.
By Greg Holt