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China’s Coal Imports Rise as Rail Work Limits Domestic Supply

China’s coal imports in April rose to the
highest in four months as power producers were seen boosting
overseas shipments to replenish stockpiles after railway
maintenance limited domestic deliveries.
Inbound shipments by the world’s largest consumer of coal
were equivalent to about 826,000 tons a day, according to
Bloomberg calculations based on data from the General
Administration of Customs on Monday. That’s up almost 16 percent
from the previous month and the most since December.
China’s power producers have turned to overseas deliveries,
which are up 33 percent during the first four months of this
year, amid government mining restrictions that helped imports
last year expand at the fastest pace in four years. Inbound
shipments likely accelerated further last month after work on a
key rail supply line limited domestic shipments, according to
the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association.
“Inventories were quite low amid tight domestic supplies,”
Deng Shun, an analyst with GF Futures Co., said before data were
released. “Power plants should have increased purchases last
month to replenish stockpiles.”
China’s benchmark Qinhuangdao coal price was at 619 yuan a
ton, CCTD reported Monday, the lowest since March 6. Prices will
stabilize at around 550 yuan a ton this year, UOB Kay Hian
analysts said in an e-mailed note.
The Datong-Qinhuangdao railway started 25 days of
maintenance on April 6, CCTD said on its website last week. On a
monthly basis, China imported a total of 24.78 million metric
tons in April, the data Monday showed.