China lifts informal ban on coal imports from Australia

Coal mining in Australia. Photo: geoenergetics

The Chinese authorities have allowed customs clearance of Australian coal from customs warehouses on their territory after an informal ban on coal imports from the country lasted for almost a year.

The ban itself was introduced after several political speeches, made by by the Australian government against Beijing on the origins of COVID-19 and human rights in China.

The decision to allow the use of coal from Australia was made by the Chinese authorities due to the growing shortage of electricity, caused, among other things, by a shortage of coal for thermal power plants. In total, 1 million tons of Australian coal accumulated in customs warehouses in China during the year.

Still, despite this, most of analysts believe the shortage of coal in China will still last until February - March, when the heating season ends.

Exports from other key suppliers such as Russia and Mongolia have been hampered by limited rail capacity and rainy season.

China imported 197.69 million tons of coal in the first eight months of 2021, which is 10% less than last year.

Most of analysts, however, believe the lack of coal is not the main cause of the crisis in China. According to them, the regulatory crisis is exacerbated by rising energy consumption, resulting in interruptions in electricity supply. In the long term, Russia can benefit from the crisis in China. As an exporter of energy resources, Moscow will increase gas supplies to China and will also be able to count on expanding joint energy projects.

By: Eugene Gerden