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China's coal imports may drop in June

2013-06-19 10:56 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: qindexing

China's coal imports fell 3.9 percent in May from April due to weakening demand and worries over a government policy to curb low-quality coal, and may drop again this month.

Coal imports, including lignite, totaled 27.57 million tons, down from 28.69 million tons in April, according to Customs data. Still, imports were up 5.6 percent from a year earlier.

The National Energy Administration said last month China may ban imports of coal with low heating value, potentially affecting lignite, which is considered the lowest type of coal. The ban may affect miners in Indonesia, Vietnam and the US, analysts said.

The month-on-month fall in imports also comes as China reported a slowdown in power consumption growth and amid a steady decline in domestic coal prices, which made imports less attractive.

"As the price gap between domestic and imported coal is narrowing, and coal inventories at most ports are near full, coal imports may fall again in June from May," the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association said yesterday.

Coal imports rose 9.7 percent in April month on month, and 12.5 percent in March.

China, the world's largest coal producer, has become a net importer of the fuel due to a bottleneck in railway transport which caused supply constraints at power plants.

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