Saturday, June 10, 2023
HomeHeadlinesChina imports record volume of coking coal from Russia in April


To our FREE newsletter
Get all the latest maritime news delivered straight to your inbox.

China imports record volume of coking coal from Russia in April

China’s imports of Russian metallurgical coal, a key feedstock for steelmaking, hit a record in April, shipping data shows, driven by steep discounts compared with other suppliers and increased availability of bank credit for Chinese buyers.

A record 1.37 million tonnes of seaborne Russian coking coal arrived in China in April, data tracked by analytics firm Kpler showed. That compares with 922,673 tonnes in March and just under 750,000 tonnes in April 2021.

China imported an average 4.55 million tonnes of coking coal monthly in 2021 from all sources.

Global coal markets have been in disarray since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered worries of sanctions on raw materials exported from Russia, the sixth-largest coal producer.

While most importers have shunned Russian supplies since Moscow launched its so-called special operation in February, some buyers in top coal consumer China aggressively stepped up purchases last month once they had secured the necessary credit arrangements with banks.

Coal trade between China and Russia stalled in late February when banks suspended issuing letters of credit as the United States and allies vowed to block certain Russian banks’ access to the SWIFT international payment system.

However, as some Chinese banks relaxed restrictions on credit letters to certain clients, coal trading with Russia resumed in March, although some hurdles, such as shipping and insurance, remain.

“Firms eligible to acquire credit letters are gobbling cheap Russian coal, not only for themselves but also for reselling to those who have payment problems,” said a Beijing-based coal trader who declined to be named as he was not authorised to speak to media.

Refinitiv trade flow data showed that arrivals of Russian thermal plus coking coal reached 4.37 million tonnes in April, double the level in the previous month.

Chinese customs data showed that total coal imports in April rose 43% from March. Data on imports by origin will be published on May 20.


Steep discounts offered by Russian exporters have been a strong draw for buyers.
Premium Russian coking coal at northern Chinese ports traded at an average of $386 a tonne in April, compared with $473 a tonne for Australian coking coal of similar quality, traders said.

Domestic prices for premium coking coal hovered around 3,260 yuan ($488) a tonne in April.

Imported coal is subject to 13% value-added tax.

Traders said that while the coal import binge in April likely extended into early May, China’s appetite for steelmaking ingredients may now slow as movement restrictions for stopping the spread of COVID-19 stifle economic activity and steel producer profitability.

“End consumption in China is really poor now, profit margins at mills are thin and they’re reluctant to churn out too many steel products,” said a Shandong-based coking coal trader who also asked to stay anonymous.

Blast furnaces’ capacity utilisation rates at 247 steel mills across China stood at 81.9% in early-May, well below 90% in April 2021, data from Mysteel consultancy showed.

Despite recent weak economic data, China’s central bank this week said it would not resort to flood-like stimulus and would not use property – the source of 35% of steel demand – as a short-term fix for the economy.

Other major coking coal suppliers to China are Indonesia, Mongolia, the United States, Canada and Australia.

Source: Reuters

Related Posts


Finance & Economy
Shipping News

Trafigura publishes 2023 interim results showing a strong performance

Trafigura, a market leader in the global commodities industry, released its 2023 Interim Report today for the six-month period ended 31 March 2023. The results...

Globus Q1 results hit by weak dry bulk market

Globus Maritime Limited, a dry bulk shipping company, reported its unaudited consolidated operating and financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2023. Revenue $8.6 million...

BW LPG appoints new CFO

BW LPG announced that it has appointed Ms Samantha Xu as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective 1 September 2023. Ms Xu has over 20 years...

Frontline Posts Highest First Quarter Results Since 2008

Frontline plc reported unaudited results for the three months ended March 31, 2023: Highlights Highest first quarter profit since 2008 of $199.6 million, or $0.90 per...

Diana Shipping posts slightly lower Q1 profit; takes out $123m in loans

Diana Shipping reported net income of $22.7 million and net income attributed to common stockholders of $21.3 million for the first quarter of 2023....

Celestyal Participates In Promotion Of The Tourist Destination Of Central Macedonia

Celestyal, the award-winning, number one choice for travellers to the Greek Islands and the...

Capesize, panamax gains drive Baltic index higher

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index rose for a fourth straight session on...

Baltic rises to over 3-month peak on firm demand for larger vessels

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index rose on Wednesday to scale its highest...

Baltic index logs best day in nearly 3 months

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index posted its biggest single-day gain since mid-March...

Taiwan Shipping Firms Set to Hand Out Bumper Bonuses Again

Taiwanese shipping companies are handing out bumper mid-year bonuses despite a slump in global...

Iraklio port tender set for another delay

The opening of the binding financial offers for 67% of Iraklio Port Authority had been scheduled for Thursday, but this is no longer expected...

APM Terminals extends concession of Kalundborg container terminal

APM Terminals has reached an agreement with the Port of Kalundborg to extend the concession of Kalundborg container terminal by 10 years to 2033. In...

US West Coast port workers shut terminals in showdown over pay

The employers of more than 22,000 dock workers at U.S. West Coast seaports on Friday said the union representing those laborers “is staging concerted...

DP World Completes Terminal Expansion Project Vancouver Port

DP World has completed the AED954 million ($259.78 million) Centerm expansion project, increasing container throughput at the Port of Vancouver by 60 percent. The terminal...

DP World completes AED 954 million Vancouver port expansion

DP World and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority have celebrated two historic events – the completion of the Centerm Expansion Project at DP World...