SHANGHAI, Jan 9 (Reuters) - China has ditched an annual export quota system for metallurgical coke, a steelmaking raw material, the customs office said, a move that could send their exports higher amid sluggish demand at home.
From this month, coke exports are no longer restricted by quota but are regulated via export licenses, the General Administration of Customs said in a statement on its website dated December 31.
The removal of export quotas comes after Beijing scrapped a 40 percent export duty on the material to meet a December deadline set by the World Trade Organisation to remove export restrictions on industrial materials.
The moves could send Chinese exports jumping to 8 million - 10 million tonnes in 2013 from around 1 million tonnes in 2012, analysts have said.
China used to be the world's largest coke exporter, but shipments have almost dried up since 2008, when Beijing raised the export duty from 25 percent in a bid to reduce pollution.
The removal of these export restrictions also comes as a combination of overcapacity and tepid demand in the domestic market caused Chinese coke makers to appeal to Beijing to cut duties to increase their sales channels.
Chinese coke futures on the Dalian Commodity Exchange have soared since December. The most active May contract jumped 17 percent in December and climbed to a seven-month high of 1,854 yuan ($300) a tonne this week. ($1 = 6.2241 Chinese yuan) (Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)