China’s thermal coal (incl. bituminous and sub-bituminous coal, but excl. lignite) imports in April surged 88.95% compared with the corresponding month last year, official data said, reaching a record high since at least January 2018.
The world’s largest coal consumer imported 14.53 million tonnes of thermal coal in April, up from 7.69 million tonnes in April 2019, the latest data from the General Administration of Customs showed. It was also a 20.38% rise from March.
Value of April’s thermal coal imports reached $932 million, up 66.01% year on year and 22.35% month on month. The average import price was calculated at $64.14/t, up $1.03/t from March but down $8.86/t from April 2019.
The large spread between seaborne and Chinese domestic coal prices has been a key driver to the dramatic surge in China’s coal imports this year, which was a major cause for the authorities to tighten grips on coal imports.
In the first four months, China’s thermal coal imports totaled 55 million tonnes, soaring 69.13% compared with the same period in 2019; value of the imports reached $3.5 billion, a 48.79% rise on the year.
China also imported 9.47 million tonnes of lignite in April, down 1.9% year on year and 0.53% month on month, which was worth $388.09 million, down 10.4% year on year. Year-to-date imports totaled 42.04 million tonnes, a 4.3% rise year on year, which was worth $1.77 billion, a 3.4% rise.