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Chinese Imports Of U.S. Coal Collapse By 67%

Lower steel demand due to China’s lockdowns in the first half of this year dragged down demand for coal used in steelmaking and resulted in a 67-percent slump in Chinese imports of U.S. coal between January and June, Argus reports, citing data from analytics firm Dry Bulk X (DBX).

China’s coal imports from the United States were 2 million metric tons in the first half of 2022, a decline of 67 percent compared to over 6 million metric tons of coal China imported from the U.S. in the same period last year. Coal shipments from the U.S. Gulf Coast to China slumped by 71 percent year over year to 800,000 tons between January and June, DBX data quoted by Argus showed.

Per the analytics firm, the United States had a 2.1-percent share in China’s seaborne coal imports in the first half of this year, down from a share of almost 4.8 percent for the same period of 2021.Last year, the United States exported around 15 percent of its coal production, and 58 percent of all U.S. coal exports went to five countries, according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). 

China was the second-largest destination of U.S. coal exports last year, only behind India. China received a total of 15 percent of all the coal the United States exported last year, the EIA data showed.

In recent months, China has significantly boosted its coal production, following government orders for more coal supply. Faced with power shortages last autumn, Chinese authorities ordered an increase in domestic coal production as global coal prices soared.

In March, China’s daily coal production hit a record high as it jumped by 15 percent compared to March 2021.

China has put more emphasis on energy security since the autumn of 2021. Earlier this year, China said it would continue to maximize the use of coal in the coming years as it caters to its energy security, despite pledges to contribute to global efforts to reduce emissions.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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