© Reuters. Workers use loaders to unload imported coal at a port in Lianyungang, Jiangsu province, China, December 5, 2019. REUTERS/STRINGER ATTENTION EDITORS – This image was provided by a third party. China is out.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – China’s coal imports from Russia rose in August, surpassing the previous month’s level and reaching the highest level in at least five years, as power companies in the world’s biggest coal consumer look to buy overseas to meet the growing demand. very hot weather.
Coal arrivals from Russia reached 8.54 million tonnes last month, up from a peak of 7.42 million tonnes in July and up 57 percent from a year earlier, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday.
The monthly figures are the highest since comparable statistics began in 2017.
Imports from Russia have increased in recent months as Europe suspended purchases from Ukraine after sending tens of thousands of troops to the country, forcing Russian coal to trade at deep discounts.
Russian coal prices climbed as China and India stepped up buying, traders said, but remained below domestic coal of comparable quality.
At the end of August, 5,500 kcal of thermal coal from Russia to China was valued at about $155 a tonne, down from about $150 a tonne a month earlier.
Coal-fired power plants have ramped up output to meet growing demand for air-conditioning and power shortages at hydroelectric plants amid a severe drought and heatwave in western and southern China starting in late July.
They have also increased purchases of high-quality thermal coal, such as Russian coal, to improve power generation efficiency.
China imported 15.82 million tonnes of dirty fuel from its main supplier Indonesia in August, up 35 percent from July, data showed.
But this is still lower than the 17.3 million tonnes imported in August last year.
The rise in Indonesian coal purchases comes as lucrative prices encourage utilities to place more orders. In August, Indonesia’s 3,800 kcal thermal coal was 170 yuan ($24.26) per ton lower than China’s equivalent quality coal, and 4,700 kcal was 140 yuan lower.
Power companies are expected to increase imports in October to replenish inventories ahead of the start of the heating season in much of northern China in mid-November.
However, as the yuan continues to depreciate, imported coal will become more expensive for Chinese buyers and could reduce demand.
($1 = 7.0066 RMB)