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Coal Trade: Chinese imports for May trend higher

16 May 2019

China's total seaborne imports of all types of coal appear to have increased in May, from the level of April. Australian cargoes also appear to have made a recovery after dropping off last month.

Total seaborne coal imports into China between 1-15 May were recorded at 12.57 mt by IHS Markit's Commodities at Sea ship tracking service. This is up on 8.78 mt in 1-15 April and 9.28 mt in 1-15 March.

Seaborne arrivals in 1-15 May averaged 0.84 mt/d, up on the April and March averages of 0.62 mt/d and 0.67 mt/d respectively.

The current rate is also much higher than that recorded for May 2018 when 18.18 mt of seaborne imports were tracked at an average of 0.59 mt/d.

The total seaborne tonnage for Chinese arrivals in 1 January-15 May comes to 89.35 mt, averaging 0.66 mt/d, up from the same period last year when 87.84 mt was tracked at a rate of 0.65 mt/d.

For 1-15 May, Australia sent 4.17 mt accounting for a 34% market share. This is up on its share of arrivals in April at just 23%, but just below 35% in May 2018.

Indonesian cargoes accounted for 5.99 mt, or 49% of arrivals in 1-15 May, which is down on its 60% market share in April. In May 2018, Indonesia's share of seaborne arrivals was 46%.

Russian arrivals were up at 1.61 mt in 1-15 May, giving a market share of 13%, which is up on its April share of 8%. In May 2018, Russia held a share of just 6%.

Posted by Billy Youngson, Principal Research Coal Analyst, IHS Markit

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