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Asia Coal Imports Remain Strong in June

Coal imports into Asia this month are expected to remain strong despite a slight decline in coal demand from China and India—the biggest importers.

Japan, the third-biggest, is the only one of the top coal importers in Asia set to see an increase in imports this month.

Reuters’ Clyde Russell reported earlier today that Asia imported some 76.39 million metric tons of thermal coal this month, per data from Kpler. That would be a modest decline on May’s total of 78.67 million metric tons. It was, however, an increase on the 74.81 million metric tons that Asian countries imported in June 2023.

China’s coal imports have been pretty strong since the start of the year thanks to falling prices for the commodity. Imports during the first quarter alone rose by 17% on the year. Local coal production, meanwhile, weakened as authorities ordered coal mine inspections in China’s coal country, the Shanxi province, following several fatal accidents.

What’s more a surge in rainfall boosted hydropower generation, reducing the need for coal generation, which also affected the rate of imports. In May, hydropower generation in China rose by 38% on the year, logging another 14.9% increase over the first five months of 2024.

India, on the other hand, has been boosting its domestic coal production in response to strong demand growth amid summer heat and growing industrial activity. As a result of the domestic boost, India’s June coal imports are seen by Kpler at 14.63 million metric tons, down from 17.59 million metric tons a month earlier. Still, the June import total is higher than it was a year ago, when it stood at 13.43 million metric tons.

Domestic production, meanwhile, gained 10.2% in May for a total of 83.91 million metric tons, with the output over the first two months of India’s new fiscal year that started in April up by 8.8% on the previous year.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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