China coal imports from Australia cut in half

Bundaberg coal

China’s coal imports have dropped by 47 per cent in October compared with the corresponding period last year amid escalating trade tensions with Australia.

Coal imports last month amounted to just 13.73 million tonnes compared with  25.69 million tonnes in October 2019.

The sobering statistics for October arrived as China reportedly banned specific Australian imports including coal.

China’s October coal imports were also 26 per cent lower than in September.

According to IEA (International Energy Agency) Clean Coal Centre,  Australia supplied more than 40 per cent of China’s coking coal imports and 57 per cent of the nation’s thermal coal last year.

China imported 253.16 million tonnes of coal from Australia between January and October compared with 299.67 million tonnes in 2019.

The news came as the Minerals Council of Australia released its New Frontiers research project, outlining opportunities for Australia to boost its mining exports in South and East Asia.

According to the research, energy demand is expected to skyrocket due to factors including population growth, urbanisation and infrastructure spending, with coal expected to provide 40-60 per cent of India’s energy until 2030 and beyond “because it’s the cheapest fuel available”.

Coal supplies more than half of Indian power stations, according to the report.

The MCA anticipates strong growth for coal in Southeast Asia in the 2020s, stating that shipping coal from Australia can often be cheaper than domestic transportation in India.

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