Bloomberg News

China November Coal Imports Rise to Record as Temperatures Drop

December 18, 2012

China’s coal imports in November rose to a record level as colder weather and price arbitrage boosted demand, according to the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association.

Purchases climbed 35 percent from October to almost 29 million metric tons, the association said on its website today. That’s 6.5 percent higher than a year ago, it said.

China, the world’s biggest coal consumer and producer, is boosting imports of the fuel as winter weather stokes demand for heating. The nation’s power consumption in November increased at the fastest pace in nine months.

“The demand for thermal power has increased as hydropower output declined in winter,” the association said in the statement. “International coal prices climbed last month but are still lower than domestic levels, so the price discount sparked import enthusiasm.”

Thermal coal with an energy value of 5,500 kilocalories per kilogram at Qinhuangdao averaged 637.5 yuan ($102.28) a ton last month, data from the association show. Coal with a heating value of 6,700 kilocalories per kilogram at the Australian port of Newcastle, the benchmark price for Asia, averaged $82.43 in November, according to data from IHS McCloskey, a Petersfield, U.K.-based data provider.

China’s coal imports rose in October for the first time in four months to 21.4 million tons, the General Administration of Customs said Nov. 21.

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Jing Yang in Shanghai at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at

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