China Dec coal imports slip as COVID spike dampens industrial activity

  • Dec imports 30.91 million T vs. 32.31 million T in November
  • Total imports in 2022 will be 293.2 million tons, down 9.2%
  • Analysts expect China’s 2023 coal imports to stabilize at 2022 levels

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China’s coal imports fell in December as COVID-19 cases surged and industrial activity slowed after Beijing abruptly lifted draconian pandemic measures. decreased from the previous month.

China imported 30.91 million tonnes of fossil fuels last month, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. This was broadly flat compared to his 30.95 million tonnes imported in December 2021.

China’s customs authorities published import data on their website shortly after 0200 GMT, but the information was no longer available on the site after that.

Since China abandoned its zero-COVID strategy in early December, millions have fallen ill and factories have slowed operations due to labor shortages, hurting coal demand for industrial and power generation. gave.

Coal shipments to China in 2022 will reach 293.2 million tons, down 9.2% from the previous year. This is because China urged utilities to sign conditional contracts with domestic miners to boost domestic coal production and enhance energy security.

China introduced a domestic thermal coal price cap early last year, aimed at lowering power generation costs for utilities and avoiding a nationwide power shortage recorded in 2021.

The policy has left China’s domestic coal prices well below foreign supplies for months as global coal prices surged due to supply concerns after the Russo-Ukrainian war.

China’s coal imports are expected to rebound after the Lunar New Year in late January/early February as factories reopen and prospects for an economic recovery brighten demand prospects.

However, as the central government continues to urge mining companies to increase production and forcing utilities to expand contract terms with domestic mining companies from around 2 billion tons in 2022 to 2.6 billion tons in 2023. , coal imports may be limited.

The China Coal Transportation and Distribution Association (CCTD) expects China to bring in about 300 million tons of overseas coal in 2023, about the same level as in 2022.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Chen Aizhu, Editing by Himani Sarkar

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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