Mongolia replaces Australia as top coking coal supplier to China

Mongolia shipped twice as much metallurgical coal to the Chinese market than Australia in September, confirming its position as the key supplier of the steelmaking raw material to China.

Mongolia sent 3.89 million tonnes of coking coal to China in September, while Australia shipped 1.98 million tonnes. In August, China imported 3.07 million tonnes of coking coal from Mongolia, and 3.02 million tonnes from Australia.

A buyer source from China said that imports from Mongolia will continue to be sizeable in October, especially since imports from Australia were halted in early October.

China imported a total of 6.72 million tonnes of coking coal in September, down 15.6% from 7.96 million tonnes in the same month in 2019 and down by 6.3% month on month.

Coking coal imports in September were valued at 4.2 billion yuan ($631 million), down by 45.1% year on year and 20.2% lower month on month, according to customs data.

Fastmarkets’ index for premium hard coking coal, cfr Jingtang averaged $130.26 per tonne in September, down by 20.1% from $163.09 per tonne a year earlier, but up by 12.9% from $115.37 per tonne last month.

In early October, steel mills in China received an official verbal notice to halt imports of Australian coal, which led to the slump in seaborne coking coal prices, especially for premium hard coking coal.

Fastmarkets’ index for premium hard coking coal, fob Australia stood at $113.25 per tonne on October 23, down $21.30 per tonne from $134.55 per tonne on October 1.

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