China's first-half receipts of Russian thermal coal rose by 15pc from a year earlier to 9.4mn t, Chinese customs data show, with imports of bituminous coal registering the most significant growth.
Russian suppliers benefited from restrictions on imports of Australian coal imposed by the Chinese government.
Russia's share of thermal coal imports to China increased by 1.2 percentage points on the year, to 9.4pc in January-June. Russia remains the third-largest supplier to China after Indonesia and Australia. The key Russian thermal coal suppliers to China are mining companies Suek, Kuzbassrazrezugol, Kuzbasskaya Toplivnaya Kompaniya (KTK) and SDS-Ugol, Russian customs data show.
China's imports from Indonesia, the largest supplier of thermal coal for Chinese consumers, rose by 10pc on the year to 76.4mn t in the first half of 2019. Indonesia has continued to increase bituminous coal exports to China since April, partly because of the restrictions on Australian coal. Indonesia's share of Chinese thermal coal imports rose by almost seven percentage points on the year to 76.4pc in January-June.
Meanwhile, China's receipts of Australian thermal coal fell by almost 16pc on the year to 21.2mn t in January-June. But Australia remains the second-largest supplier to China despite Beijing's decision in February to extend customs clearance for Australian coal cargoes. Chinese buyers, including those with long-term contracts or their own ports, continue to purchase Australian coal, as relatively low prices offset the uncertainty surrounding China's import policy.
China's total imports of thermal coal — including bituminous and sub-bituminous coal, and lignite — edged up by 1.1mn t, or 1pc, from a year earlier to 113.4mn t in January-June.
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