China’s coking coal imports rose in April from March as Mongolia reopened its border and Chinese buyers ramped up purchases of cargoes that were diverted from regions still under Covid-19 lockdowns.
China imported 6.21mn t of coking coal in April, up by 12pc from 5.52mn t in March, but down by 16pc from a year earlier, according to Chinese customs data.
January-April imports rose by 9pc to 26mn t, as a surge in seaborne material offset Mongolian supply.
Seaborne imports rose by 45pc to 5.4mn t in April on the year, taking their January-April total up by 70pc to 22.8mn t.
Australian imports increased by 2pc to 4.47mn t from March and by 64pc on the year. Australian January-April imports rose by 79pc to 18.7mn t on year.
Mongolian coking coal imports increased to 775,241t in April from 49,580t in March, but fell by 79pc from 3.69mn t a year earlier. Mongolian imports restarted in late March but with fewer daily coal trucks allowed through border checkpoints.
The significant discount of seaborne material compared to domestic coat also fuelled the import surge.
The Argus spot price assessment for premium low-volatile hard coking coal averaged $130.41/t fob Australia in March, down by 18pc from $159.89/t in February. Top tier domestic coking coal prices in China remained above 1,150 yuan/t ($185/t) in north China in April.
Russian imports accelerated both on the month and year to 605,145t in April, taking the year-to-date volume up by 17pc at 1.9mn t.
Canadian imports fell by 58pc from March to 240,290t, and US imports fell by 31pc to 91,661t.
By Dylan Wong
|China coking coal imports||‘000s|
|Origin||Apr-20||Apr-19||Pc change||Jan-April 2020||Jan-April 2019||Pc change|
|Source: China customs|