China imported 3.41 million tonnes of coking coal in May 2021, down 30% from the corresponding period last year and down 2% month on month, the latest data from China Customs showed.This followed a 44% year-on-year drop and a 29% month-on-month decline in imports in April.
Over January-May 2021, China imported 18 million tonnes of coking coal, down 43% from the same period in 2020.
Russia was the largest supplier of coking coal to China in May 2021, selling 1.05 million tonnes to the East Asian country in May and accounting for about 31% of total imports to China. The tonnage is up by 181% year on year and up by 38% on a monthly basis.
China imported about 3.23 million tonnes of coking coal from Russia in the first five months of 2021, up by 41% compared with the same period in 2020.
Mongolia followed as the second largest supplier. China imported 799,892 tonnes of coking coal from Mongolia in May, down by 53% year on year and up by 30% month on month. In January-May, China imported about 7.5 million tonnes of coking coal from Mongolia, up by 44% annually.
Coking coal trades were disrupted due the spread of Covid-19 infections in Mongolia since last year, which have worsened since late March 2021. The major export port for Mongolian coal, Ganqimaodu Port, was closed temporarily on June 16 again and continues to be closed as of Wednesday June 23.
The United States has gradually become a key supplier of coking coal to China this year. In May, China imported 718,812 tonnes of coking coal from the United States. While this is down by 26% month on month, there was nearly no imports from the US in the same period of 2020.
In the first five months of the year, China imported about 2.9 million tonnes of coking coal from the US, up seven-fold compared with the same period in 2020. Imports from the US have started to increase since October 2020 and jumped in March and April 2021. The US even became the largest exporter of coking coal to China’s market in April this year.
Canada exported 538,120 tonnes of coking coal to China in May, up 3% year on year and down by 15% on a monthly basis. In January-May, China imported about 3.1 million tonnes of coking coal from Canada, up by 39% from the same period in 2020.
No coking coal was imported from Australia to China over January-May 2021 due to China’s ban on Australian coal imports that came into effect in October 2020.
The May average of Fastmarkets’ index for premium hard coking coal, cfr Jingtang was $251.72 per tonne, up by $32.53 per tonne compared with the April average.
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