The Coal Trader

China’s coal imports from Indonesia, Australia rise in November

China’s coal imports last month from top supplier Indonesia rose 16% from October while those from Australia were up nearly 30% as utilities restocked for winter power generation.

Indonesian coal shipments, with an energy content mostly of 3,800 kilocalories (kcal) and many of which are under annual supply contracts, reached 18.33 million metric tons last month, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Wednesday.

Total coal imports in November into China, the world’s largest coal buyer, expanded 35% from a year earlier to 43.51 million tons thanks to cheaper imports. Indonesian arrivals in November were up from 15.8 million tons in October but down from 20.04 million tons a year earlier.

Russian coal arrivals, most of which hold an energy content of 5,500 kcal, dipped further to 7.32 million tons last month to the lowest since February, the data showed, versus 7.64 million tons in October.

Chinese utilities have been sitting on ample coal inventories this year thanks to consistently high output weighing on domestic prices, with current coal stocks at key utilities holding above 200 million tons. However, recent mine accidents have lent some support to domestic wholesale prices which were at 950 yuan ($133.19) per ton for 5,500-kcal fuel at north China’s coal hub of Qinhuangdao, traders said.

Imports from Mongolia, largely of coking coal, reached 7.89 million tons, the customs data showed, the highest since at least 2022 and a sharp increase from 5.01 million tons in October. December imports from the landlocked nation could slow as heavy snow hampered road transport of coal. Australian coal arrivals last month rose to 6.22 million tons, the third-highest monthly amount this year and up 28.5% from October’s 4.84 million tons, the data showed.

Chinese traders and downstream users have been increasing coal purchases from Australia since Beijing removed a nearly two-year ban on coal trade with the country in January.

($1 = 7.1325 Chinese yuan renminbi)