Chinese seaborne coal imports up 21% YoY in September

dry bulk frontpage week 44

China imported 27.1Mt of coal in September according to customs data, up 11% YoY. Excluding land-based volumes from Mongolia and short sea bulker based import from North-Korea, the seaborne volumes totaled 24.1Mt, up 21% YoY.

Seaborne thermal coal import in September of 20.0Mt was up 18% YoY.  YTD seaborne thermal coal imports are up 18% from the same period last year.


Graph Chinese Seaborne Thermal Coal Imports

Seaborne coking coal imports in September of 4.1Mt was up 34 % YoY. YTD seaborne coking coal imports are up 28% from the same period last year.

Graph Chinese coking coal

Klaveness Research says:

Chinese customs cleared 0.5Mt of North Korean coal imports in September, down from the 1.6Mt in August. Reuters have previously reported that “A Ministry of Commerce spokesman said that coal imports reported in August trade data were allowed by a “grace period” for goods that arrived before the U.N. ban took effect”. Thus, we think volumes from North Korea in the October data will be negligible.

Trade flow data which is based on the arrival of vessels in China instead of when the import has been cleared by the Chinese customs, show total import of 21.4Mt in September, which is 3.0Mt lower than the customs data. This discrepancy might be explained by the stricter rules for quality checks that has been introduced at certain low tier ports from July 1st which might have delayed the customs clearance in July and August into September. 

Trade flow data indicates that total seaborne coal imports in October will be slightly lower than in September (about 1.0Mt).