China has cleared most of the Australian coal that had been held at Chinese ports due to a coal import ban, according to Fengkuang Coal Logistics.
The data released by the General Administration of Customs of China on January 21 shows that 5.6 million tonnes of Australian coking coal that was detained in Hong Kong – including 706,000 tonnes in October, 2.67 million tonnes in November, and 2.42 million tonnes in December – has been released.
China has historically been reliant on Australian high-grade coking coal, however, in the wake of the import ban, China has turned its sights to North America.
Throughout 2021, China imported 9.29 million tonnes of US coking coal, a 977.4 per cent increase on the previous year, taking its coking coal imports to 18.7 per cent of China’s imports, according to Fengkuang Coal Logistics.
In December, the import volume of Canadian coking coal increased by 23 per cent from the previous month to 1.11 million tonnes.
In 2021, the cumulative import of Canadian coking coal was 8.4 million tonnes, an increase of 98.62 per cent from 2020.
The import volume almost doubled, and the import share of Canadian coking coal accounted for 16.9 per cent, whereas Australia’s coking coal imports accounted for 11.3 per cent.
In 2021, Mongolia’s coking coal imports fell by almost 41 per cent to 12.74 million tonnes, and coking coal imports accounted for 25.7 per cent of China’s imports.
The Fengkuang report outlines that there is still great uncertainty on the future of the coking coal import market in 2022.
This includes whether new Australian coal will be imported, and the impact on Mongolian coal customs clearance.
China imported 6.79 million tonnes of coking coal in December, a decrease of 3.28 per cent from the previous month.
The cumulative import of coking coal for 2021 was 49.6 million tonnes, a decrease of 16.2 million from the same period last year or 24.6 per cent.