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Chinese Coal Imports: Regulatory Risks

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In recent years, Chinese seaborne coal imports have been surging, registering average growth of 67% p.a. between 2009 and 2013 to total 265mt. However, this trend has not continued – seaborne coal imports into China are down 7% year-on-year in the first ten months of 2014. Meanwhile, this year, China has introduced regulations which may limit coal imports even further.

Meanwhile, the availability of landborne coking coal from Mongolia has risen this year, following supply disruptions in 2013. This has led to a fall in seaborne imports. Furthermore, slower growth in Chinese steel production has contributed to a 23% year-on-year fall in coking coal imports in the year to date.
Indonesia and Australia supply most of China’s coal imports, accounting for 45% and 37% of imports during this period. In the year to date, the fall in imports from Indonesia accounts for 79% of the decline in Chinese coal imports, while imports from Australia have risen steadily.