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China's December coal imports slump 35% on year

2016-1-15

China's coal imports, including lignite, thermal and metallurgical coal, totaled 17.64 million mt in December,down 35.2% from 27.22 million mt in December 2014, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the General Administration of Customs.

 While December coal imports rose 8.9% from November, the seasonal impact remains weak, ANZ analysts said in a research note.  "We suspect the weakness could be attributed to thermal coal, as a seasonal warm northern hemisphere winter has seen domestic production remain strong and demand weak," the analysts said. 

 For the full year 2015, China imported 204.1 million mt, down 29.9% from 291.2 million mt in 2014. 
Citibank analysts in a research note forecast China's total coal imports to be 160 million for 2016, down about 22% from 2015 levels. 

 China exported 5.33 million mt of coal in 2015, down 7.1% from 5.74 million mt in 2014.  In December, China exported 439,000 mt of coal, up 3.1% from 426,000 mt year on year, the data showed.