Mongolia’s exports of lignite and bituminous coal slumped in November by 38% on month or 15% on year to 2.46 million tonnes, data released by National Statistics Office. The sharp decline is largely explained by China’s snap decision to stop coal imports once their annual quota was met. As a result, tighter controls at the China-Mongolia border checkpoints have been imposed. A highly negative result of the unexpected decision has been the 100km tailback of coal trucks stretching into the Gobi. Australian coal exporters have also been hit by Beijing’s decision.
China buys almost all Mongolian coal for external sales and beginning in mid-November, China’s General Administration of Customs began slowing the clearance of Mongolian coal as part of a strategy launched by Beijing to ensure that China’s total coal imports for 2018 fall below last year’s level, as reported.