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Johannes Fourie

Johannes Fourie

Chinese coal imports appear bullish, despite government’s import restrictions

Coal imports into China was up 20% year on year, in September. As a matter of fact -Imports were up 10% year on year for the period January-to-September combined. According to IHS Markit, preliminary data from the General Administration of Customs, further showed that China’s imports breached the 30 mt ceiling in September for a third month in a row. This could mean that at the current rate, the imports level for 2018 (which was 281 mt) would be surpassed by the end of October. It is believed that the increased tonnages are partly because of increased purchases to build stockpile volumes for winter.

As previously reported, the direction customs authority will take to control its quota is unclear. The market remains sceptic that imports will be terminated for November and December, although this did happen in December 2018. All said – Global Seaborne Coal prices seems to remain under pressure, with china’s import controls that remain uncertain.   

However, confidence seem to grow in Newcastle spot market. Some buyers clearly seemed to have returned after the holidays in several of the Asian countries. There were several encouraging important trades on globalCOAL in the past week with the latest being a 25,000t  January loading deal settled on 15 October at $70.75/t FOB, basis 6,000 kc NAR. This is higher than transactions in September at $70.00/t FOB. Earlier in October still, a 50,000 t November loading cargo was concluded on globalCOAL at $64.00/t FOB, basis 6,000 kc NAR.

Although the market remains sceptic regarding China’s coal offtake outlook for November and December, the Newcastle spot deals on the other hand seems to show optimism in the Global market.

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