China’s coking coal imports fell to a five-month low in October, hit by slowing Australian arrivals following an unofficial ban on coal imports from the country that was imposed in early October.
China imported 5.89 million tonnes of coking coal in October, down by 12.4 percent from 6.72 million tonnes in September but up by 3.5 percent from a year earlier, according to Chinese customs data.
Australian imports fell by 21 percent from a year earlier and by 23 percent from September to 1.53 million tonnes in October, the lowest level in 2020. China warned its state-owned steelmakers and power plants to stop importing Australian coal with immediate effect in early October, injecting more uncertainty into spot markets that had anticipated eased restrictions into 2021.
Imports from Mongolia rose by 14 percent in October from a year earlier to 3.26 million tonnes but fell by 16pc from a record high of 3.89 million tonnes in September. Mongolian imports declined for the first time since the border reopened from late March, as a resurgence of Covid-19 cases closed some parts of the highway.
Canadian imports more than doubled from a year earlier to 405,000 tonnes in October. Chinese mills have been seeking alternatives to Australian coal amid the import ban, particularly the premium low-volatile grade that can be matched by US and Canadian coals. Shipments from Russia also increased, rising by 20 percent from a year earlier to 650,000 tonnes.