Exclusive: China Energy places order to import Australian coal & More Trending News


SINGAPORE, Jan 6 (Reuters) – China Energy Investment Corp has positioned an order to import Australian coal, three sources acquainted with the matter mentioned on Friday, in one of many first offers since Beijing eased an unofficial ban imposed on coal imports from Australia in 2020.

The transfer comes as relations between Beijing and Canberra are thawing, and as China is attempting to meet rising demand for coal due to greater energy consumption following the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions.

China Energy’s cargo is probably going to be loaded earlier than the top of this month, the sources mentioned, with out offering additional particulars. The sources declined to be recognized as they don’t seem to be approved to converse to the media.

China Energy didn’t instantly reply to a request searching for remark. The firm has to date solely ordered thermal coal – usually utilized in energy crops, two of the sources mentioned.

Australia was China’s second-largest coal provider earlier than the unofficial ban, which got here into pressure as diplomatic ties broke down in 2020. Coal cargoes shipped from Australia to China, which had accounted for practically 1 / 4 of all Australian coal provides in 2019, fell to practically zero in 2021 and 2022.

Japan, India and European international locations gained at China’s expense, boosting imports from Australia. China elevated shipments from Indonesia in 2021 and Russia in 2022, information from consultancy Kpler confirmed.

Reuters Graphics

Australia equipped 36.5% of Japan’s coal imports in 2022, up from 27.6% in 2019. India’s share of Australian coal elevated to 15.7% in 2022 from 12.3%, whereas Europe’s share elevated to 8% from 4.6%, the Kpler information confirmed.


While China is now anticipated to begin shopping for Australian coal, the transfer could not instantly alter commerce routes which have advanced following the unofficial ban on coal, merchants and shoppers say.

An official at a Chinese state-run utility mentioned energy crops in China didn’t have a lot urge for food for Australian cargoes of thermal coal, since they usually eat coal with decrease heating values and energy plant inventories are excessive.

“Australian thermal coal is of better quality and is expensive. Chinese utilities may hence be less keen to buy,” the official mentioned.

The transfer can also be anticipated to have a restricted impression on Japanese utilities as they historically depend on greater high quality Australian thermal coal, whereas Chinese patrons go for decrease high quality gasoline, a supply at a Japanese coal provider mentioned.

There might be little distinction in Japanese steelmakers’ purchases of Australian coking coal, the supply mentioned.

“It (easing of the ban) will not force Japanese steelmakers to look for alternatives as they have secured the necessary supplies by term contracts,” the supply mentioned.

Global costs of each coking and thermal coal shot up after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine final yr. Major patrons corresponding to China and India responded by boosting coal purchases from Russia, which provided steep reductions.

Analysts and merchants anticipate the return of Australian coal to problem the market share of suppliers corresponding to Russia and add to strain on costs in the long term.

“Entry of Australian coal into Chinese markets could ease coking coal prices, which are currently on the higher side,” an Indian coal dealer mentioned.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Sudarshan Varadhan; Additional reporting by Beijing bureau, Yuka Obayashi in Tokyo and Byron Kaye in Sydney; Writing by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Florence Tan and Christian Schmollinger

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Exclusive: China Energy places order to import Australian coal

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