China is increasing coal imports from Russia, but Australia is not

Taken on October 24, 2021, this photo shows a cargo ship being loaded with coal in Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province, central China.

STR | AFP | Getty Images

Beijing — The country is also increasing coal imports as China is trying to solve its electricity shortage — it is bringing in three times as much coal from Russia compared to last year, China’s customs data shows.

Report Power outages at factories across China It intensified in September as local governments struggled to balance increased demand for electricity with efforts to reduce carbon emissions.Early trade data showed China’s coal imports surged 76% from a year ago To 32.9 million tons in September.

New customs data released late Tuesday showed that much of the coal came from Russia and Indonesia rather than Australia. 2019, the country It accounts for about 38% of China’s steam coal imports. The main fuel for power generation.

China’s steam coal imports surge (2018-2021)

Source: Wind

China imported about 3.7 million tonnes of steaming coal from Russia in September, according to customs data accessed through Wind Information. This is a 28% increase from August, more than 230% more than a year ago.

The surge is not limited to one time. China’s imports of steaming coal from Russia have doubled or tripled from 2020 levels every month since May. This year’s monthly figures are also well above pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Stephen Olson, a senior researcher at the Hinrich Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on trade issues, said:

“It also shows the economic costs and turmoil that can arise when trade restrictions are used as a means of applying geopolitical pressure,” he said in an email.

Despite rising coal demand in China According to customs data, steam coal imports from Australia have remained zero since the informal ban was enforced in late 2020.

Australia was once China’s largest source of imported coal. However, political tensions between the two countries intensified after Australia supported an investigation into how Beijing dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.

China imported 3 million tonnes of steaming coal from Indonesia last month, up 19% from August and 89% from September 2020, customs data showed.

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China is increasing coal imports from Russia, but Australia is not

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