China's Coal Imports Hit Record High in 2023

tendata blogTrade Trends News

ten data blog15-01-2024

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China's coal imports soared 61.8 percent to a record high in 2023 as demand for the commodity rebounded after the COVID-19 pandemic and users turned to importing domestic coal due to higher prices and lower quality, customs data showed Friday.


According to China's General Administration of Customs, imports for the year totaled a record high of 474.42 million tons. This was also higher than analysts' expectations of 460 million to 470 million tons for the year.


Coal imports also hit a record high last month at 47.3 million tons, up 8.7 percent from November, as a record cold snap in many parts of the country drove demand for coal.


Buyers also began stocking up ahead of the Lunar New Year holiday, which begins on Feb. 10 this year.


China's cabinet last month reinstated a 3%-6% tariff on coal imports from countries without bilateral free trade agreements, effective from January 2024, which mainly applies to major suppliers Mongolia and Russia.


However, traders said the tariffs would not eliminate the price advantage of imported coal, leading to a possible increase in imports again in 2024.


Mongolian coal imports, in particular, are likely to continue to increase as the two countries have worked over the last year to improve rail connections and simplify customs clearance.


Nonetheless, some analysts believe imports could decline this year from record highs in 2023 if growth in renewable generation continues to account for much of the growth in electricity demand.




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