China’s coal imports doubled in October from the past year

China’s coal imports doubled in October from the past year

Overview

  • According to customs figures released Sunday, China’s coal imports totaled 26.9 million tonnes in October, jumping 96.2 percent from the previous year
  • However, this was down 18.2 percent from September’s 32.9 million tonnes
  • China’s State Grid said on Sunday that power supply and demand in its operating areas had returned to normal, but cautioned that the following winter months would be challenging

Significant hike in coal purchases

BEIJING (Xinhua) — According to customs figures released Sunday, China imported nearly twice as much coal in October as it did a year earlier. This was irrespective of signals that the country’s power shortfall is easing.

According to data available through Wind Information, monthly coal purchases hit 26.9 million tonnes in October, jumping 96.2 percent from a year before. However, this was down 18.2 percent from September’s 32.9 million tonnes.

Since late September, when many factories were forced to halt operations due to a coal scarcity, Chinese officials have hastened to remedy the problem. According to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the number of Chinese provinces with serious power shortages had dropped to two by mid-October, down from 18 at the start of the month.

China’s State Grid said on Sunday that power supply and demand in its areas of operation had returned to normal. But cautioned that the coming winter months will be challenging, he added. China’s coal imports by country will be released later in November.

On a country-by-country basis, the United States remained China’s most important commercial partner. Imports from the United States fell sharply in October, falling by around 4.6 percent year on year. Exports to the United States, on the other hand, grew at a fast rate of roughly 22.7 percent, according to China’s customs data.

Australian’s Imports

Imports from Australia, which was formerly China’s top coal supplier, fell to 24.3 percent year on year in October, down from 50.7 percent in September. According to customs figures, exports increased by 22.3 percent in October, down slightly from 23.8 percent in September.

According to Reuters, China’s overall imports increased by 20.6 percent in October, falling short of estimates of a 25% increase. China’s exports increased by 27.1 percent, exceeding the 24.5 percent expected by Reuters.

Exports are particularly crucial to keep an eye on because they have been China’s single largest growth engine for the previous year and a half, according to Ting Lu of Nomura.

Lu calculates that China’s exports increased only 7% year over year in October, excluding a spike in producer prices. Wednesday will see the release of China’s producer pricing index for the previous month.

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