China Coking Coal Imports Slump 14% in September as Prices Rise

(Bloomberg) -- China’s coking coal imports fell 14 percent in September from August as prices gained by more than half.

Purchases fell to 5.56 million metric tons last month from 6.49 million tons in August, the highest monthly figure since July 2015, according to data from the General Administration of Customs. September imports climbed 40 percent from a year ago. Metallurgical prices this year have more than tripled to $242.90 a ton.

Output cuts and flooding in the Shanxi province, which accounts for about 35 percent of Chinese coking coal output, have led to a boost in imports. While China relaxed supply restrictions on Chinese thermal coal miners to cool prices, Reuters reported last month an appeal by steelmakers to increase production of the metallurgical variety was rejected.

Crude-steel output from China’s mills totaled 603.78 million metric tons in the first nine months, up 0.4 percent from a year ago, according to data from the statistics bureau on Wednesday. Supply was 68.17 million tons last month, up 3.9 percent from a year earlier, the data showed.