(Updating to add more details)
BEIJING Feb 10 China's coal imports jumped 64
percent in January from a year earlier to one of the highest in
years, but fell on the month as economic activity slowed ahead
of the Lunar New Year holiday, official customs data showed on
Imports COA-IMP-TOT totaled 24.91 million tonnes in
January, the highest for the first month of the year since 2014,
figures from the General Administration of Customs of China
The sharp year-on-year rise reflected the sustained pick-up
in buying for lower priced foreign coal, used by utilities, over
the past year after the government cracked down on domestic
Analysts still expect coal imports to pick up in coming
months as China is poised to close more mining capacity in 2017
as part of its ongoing campaign to shift to clean energy.
Rising prices in the steel market should also be supportive
for coal, ANZ research said in a note.
"As in the iron ore market, rising margins in the Chinese
steel market has helped support coking coal. After staying in
negative territory for most of the past two years, margins have
moved into positive territory in recent months," ANZ research
The figures include lignite, a type of coal with lower
heating value that is largely supplied by Indonesia.
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(Reporting by Meng Meng and Josephine Mason; Editing by Richard