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China May coal imports from Indonesia, Mongolia jump: customs
[BEIJING] China's coal imports in May from Indonesia, Mongolia and Russia jumped in the strongest sign yet that foreign providers are filling the supply gap following China's ban on coal from North Korea.
Shipments from Indonesia rose 25 per cent from a year ago to 3.86 million tonnes in May, the highest monthly volume since July 2012, as utilities looked for cheaper foreign supplies ahead of the peak power demand season in summer and steel mills sought coking coal.
Mongolian coal exports to China last month surged 42 per cent from a year ago to 3.16 million tonnes.
Mongolia is a large supplier of anthracite coal that can be used as coking coal by the steel industry. The country's overall coal exports surged nearly fivefold in the first five months of the year as it benefited from China's ban on North Korean anthracite supplies.
Supplies from Australia, China's largest coal supplier, fell 5 per cent from a year ago, the data showed.
"The drop in Australian supply reflected the rising cost of shipping coal from Australia to China's major ports versus the shipping cost of transporting coal domestically. Traders don't take any profits importing Australian coal, but are taking more coal from countries such as Mongolia and Russia which have better import margins," said Wang Fei, coal analyst with Hua'an Futures.
Anthracite supplies from Russia in May more than doubled from a year ago to 497,379 tonnes, data showed.
China did not import coal from North Korea in May.