China continues to increase coal imports this year

China's coal production. Photo: Jianan Yu Reuters

China's imports of coal in November amounted to 35.05 million tons, compared to 11.67 million tons in November 2020 and 26.94 million tons in October 2021, being the highest figure since the beginning of the year, according to data of the Main Customs Administration (GTU) of China. In general, coal imports to China in the first 11 months of this year amounted to 292.32 million tons, which is 10.6% more compared to the same period in 2020.

The growth in imports of thermal coal to China has been observed since June 2021. It stably exceeds the level of last year and grew from 12.3 million tons in June to 13.2 million tons in October.

According to analysts, the current record volume of coal imports is primarily due to the fact that China continues to fill storage facilities amid expensive gas and the expectation of a cold winter.

As analysts also said China's forced purchases of coal in abroad is taking place amid stably high gas prices in the world and in Asia in particular.

Another reason is explosive surge in electricity demand in the country. In the first ten months of 2021, electricity consumption in China increased by 12.2% on an annual basis, according to data from the Chinese Electricity Council. Considering that, according to BP, in 2020 the share of coal-fired generation in China was 63%, this leads to an increase in demand for coal.

By: Eugene Gerden