China imports coal from the U.S.

China imports coal from the U.S.

Hong Kong’s “South China Morning Post” integrated the latest official data from China and Australia on June 30, stating that China’s import of coal from the United States continues to fill the “gap” left by Australia. In addition, China has also actively imported coal from Colombia, the Philippines, Mongolia, and Canada, which has “subverted” the pattern of the global coal industry.

Australia is trying to replace China with India and export coal. However, under the influence of unfavorable factors including the new crown epidemic, it is expected that India’s coal imports will slow down.

In October last year, when China-Australia relations continued to be tense, some foreign media began to hype “China’s coal ban on Australia.” However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of our country subsequently stated that China has strengthened the quality and safety inspection of imported coal and environmental protection project testing in accordance with laws and regulations to better protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and environmental safety.

According to Chinese customs data, China’s imports of coking coal from the United States showed an upward trend from January to May this year. In January and February, China imported 279,000 tons of coking coal from the United States and 296,000 tons, respectively.

In March, China’s imports of coking coal increased to approximately 663,000 tons, and reached the peak of 974,000 tons this year in April. The quantity fell back in May to 718,000 tons, but it still ranks the second highest this year.

The South China Morning Post noted that China’s coal imports from the United States were almost zero before October last year, but then began to gradually increase. Counting May, China has not imported coal from Australia for six consecutive months.

This week, Australia’s latest natural resources and energy report stated: “Since China imposed informal import restrictions’ on Australia, Chinese steelmakers have been seeking to shift their supply chains. However, it turns out that coastal steel mills have been reducing dependence on imports has not been so successful. As a result, the import pattern has changed, and China’s imports of metallurgical (coking) coal from the United States reached a record level this year.”

In fact, the South China Morning Post mentioned that China’s actions in October last year subverted the pattern of the global coal supply chain. China began to import coal from non-traditional coal suppliers such as Colombia. And Australian coal is also shipped to other non-traditional markets, such as India.

In May of this year, Colombia’s coal exports to China increased to 800,000 tons, while before October last year, Colombia’s coal exports to China were zero. In addition, in December last year, the Philippines’ coal shipments to China rose to a high of 2.8 million tons. In May of this year, there was a slight decrease, but 1.2 million tons were still shipped.

Other traditional coal importers in China, such as Russia and Mongolia, have also maintained exports to China.

The Australian Department of Industry report also mentioned that Canadian coal exports may also help China to “fill the vacancy caused by the Australian coal shortage” to a certain extent.

According to Chinese customs data, Canadian coal exports to China hit a record high of 1.2 million tons in March, but exports fell to 500,000 tons in May. The South China Morning Post stated that in the past few years, Canadian coal sales to China have often been unstable.

In contrast, Australia is trying to replace China with new markets such as India. However, the report summarizes that under the influence of unfavorable factors including the new crown epidemic, it is expected that India’s import of Australian coal will slow down.

On October 12th last year, the news about “China’s suspension of Australian coal imports” was reported and heatedly discussed by many foreign media, which also attracted great attention from Australians.

However, in January this year, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zhao Lijian responded that China has strengthened the quality and safety inspection of imported coal and environmental protection project testing in accordance with laws and regulations to better protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and environmental safety. The relevant measures comply with Chinese laws, regulations and international practices, and are also responsible for China’s domestic industries and consumers, and do not target any specific country or product.

Since the beginning of this year, coal prices have fluctuated at a high level, and the work of ensuring supply and price stability has received widespread attention from the society. With the approaching peak of summer coal consumption across the country, the domestic thermal coal market has been tightly supplied and demanded, and spot prices have been rising since May. However, this situation is expected to be alleviated in July.

The relevant person in charge of the Economic Operation and Regulation Bureau of the National Development and Reform Commission stated on June 26 that coal production and supply are generally stable, supply and demand are basically balanced, and there is no basis for sharp price increases. The person in charge said that since the beginning of this year, affected by factors such as the accelerated economic recovery, the coal market has experienced both strong supply and demand, and prices have fluctuated at high levels. In order to implement the spirit of the executive meeting of the State Council, the National Development and Reform Commission and relevant parties have adopted a number of measures to ensure supply and stabilize prices.

With the gradual recovery of the production area supply, hydropower output has picked up significantly, and the tight supply and demand conditions will be significantly improved. The effective supplement of imported coal will also add another insurance to guarantee the supply in summer.