* Australia investigates reports on China ban
* China coking coal imports seen lower in 2020
* China Sept iron ore imports up 8.2% vs Aug (Updates with closing prices, details and additional comment)
China is the biggest importer of Australian coal, taking 27% of its metallurgical coal in the year ended June and 20% of its thermal coal. Coal was Australia’s second-largest export last year, behind iron ore, worth A$55 billion ($39.52 billion).
Coking coal on China’s Dalian Commodity Exchange closed 1.5% higher at 1,350 yuan a tonne, after touching a contract-high 1,373 yuan earlier in the session.
Coke futures also jumped 1.5% to 2,102.50 yuan a tonne, rising for a fifth session and hitting a contract-high 2,127.50 yuan.
Australia said it was investigating media reports that China has banned its thermal and metallurgical coal, while playing down a potential sign of escalating trade tensions between the two countries.
China’s coal import restrictions resurface from time to time to stabilise local prices during periods of plentiful domestic supply. There may be “another concerted effort by authorities to support the domestic market”, analysts at ANZ said in a note.
“The uncertainty (over China’s coal import policy) still exists,” Sinosteel analysts said in a note.
Iron ore futures slumped after data showed China’s imports of the raw material in September rose 8.2% from the prior month, and 9.3% from a year ago to 108.55 million tonnes.
Dalian iron ore dropped 1.6% while the Singapore Exchange benchmark slumped 2.8% by 0715 GMT.